chapter  17
Safety, Economic Favoritism, or Age Discrimination?
The story behind the FAA’s Age 60 Rule
ByMichael Oksner
Pages 14

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Age 60 Rule (the Rule), was one of the most debated and contested acts of federal governance ever, and for good reason. The Rule states: No certificate holder may use the services of any person as a pilot on an airplane engaged in operations under this part if that person has reached his 60th birthday. The FAA issued waivers to commuter pilots over age 60 to fly until the end of 1999 to moderate the economic hardship imposed on both the carrier and their older pilots. In 1967, the Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) that protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The Department of Labor (DOL), the original overseer of the ADEA, determined that the Rule satisfied Bona Fide Occupation Qualification (BFOQ) criteria and did not challenge the FAA's allegations that older pilots compromised airline safety.