Tuesday 5 July 2022 11:30 PM Pete Buttigieg insists he WON'T raise the pilot retirement age above 65 when ... trends now
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Tuesday he had no intention of raising the retirement age for pilots after a holiday weekend of flight cancellations amid airline staffing shortages.
The industry increased the age limit 15 years ago for commercial pilots to 65 years as they moved to head off forecasts of shortages.
But the pandemic triggered a wave of early retirements and airlines are once again complaining of shortages.
Buttigieg said he would not raise the retirement age, even though Americans are living and working longer - like his 79-year-old boss Joe Biden.
'I'm much more interested in raising the bar on things like compensation and job quality than lowering the bar on something like safety,' he told Fox News.
'And when you get to these training hours, retirement age, and those things, those are fundamentally safety regulations.
'The United States of America shouldn't be able to have a robust aviation system without watering down our expectations on safety and I will consider and entertain anything that does not compromise safety.'
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appeared on Fox News to defend his record and explain why travel was disrupted over the holiday weekend. He said he had no plans to raise the retirement age for pilots beyond 65 to ease staffing shortages
More than 2000 flights were canceled over the holiday weekend and thousands more delayed
The Fourth of July brought the busiest travel weekend since the pandemic began
Since holiday weekend travel picked up last Thursday, airlines have canceled more than 2,200 U.S. flights, and another 25,000 have been delayed
Anchor Neil Cavuto probed further, saying that '65 was the new 55 and we have a president who's almost 80.'
'That regulation is there for safety reasons,' he said.
'I haven't seen any piece of information or data that would suggest that the reasoning has changed. And so I'm going to look at at other steps that are not affecting safety.'
He was speaking after a busy weekend of travel that brought disruption and cancelations for many travelers.