Bush signs law lifting age limit for U.S. pilots

Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:06pm EST
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush on Thursday signed a law raising the mandatory retirement age for commercial airline pilots from 60 to 65, the White House said in a statement.

The legislation, approved by Congress on Tuesday, was driven largely to move the 14-year-old standard in the United States into conformity with international standards.

It could also help pilots who have seen their wages, pension plans and other benefits cut in recent years due to restructuring in the industry, including bankruptcies.

The retirement age change would give older pilots more time to recoup benefits that have been reduced in recent years.

The Air Line Pilots Association International, which represents 60,000 pilots who fly for 40 U.S. and Canadian airlines had been fighting the change since the early 1980s, but reversed course earlier this year.

The association had come under pressure to abandon its opposition to the later retirement age.

Younger and mid-career pilots had favored the early retirement age, which allowed them to more quickly make captain, fly better routes and earn more money.

(Editing by Todd Eastham)