AFA Statement on H.R. 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act

Remove Nonsensical Age 67 Pilot Retirement Age Language from a Final House Bill

Washington, D.C. (June 14, 2023) — The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, representing 50,000 Flight Attendants at 19 airlines, released the following statement after the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passed H.R. 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act out of committee:

"The FAA Bill is critical for our jobs. If the FAA is not funded, we don’t have the proper staffing and infrastructure to support the demand of the traveling public. We see it today with operational meltdowns and reduced schedules due to slowed air traffic in order to maintain the highest levels of safety while ATC has been severely understaffed and working expertly, but with outdated technology. This is the result of repeated prior extensions of the FAA authorization bills that strained and set back our aviation system due to repeated failures of Congress to pass long-term authorization bills with proper funding because of highly controversial policy provisions that were selfishly promoted at the expense of passengers and aviation workers. Safety too can become a major issue when the national air system is stretched thin. That’s why it’s critical that Congress get an FAA bill done without any threats of shutdown or extensions.

"We need stable long term funding and planning for aviation to work across the industry, and we appreciate the diligent efforts of congressional leadership and staff to keep the bill on pace to be in place well before the September 30, 2023 funding deadline.

"As H.R. 3995 moves toward the full House for a vote, we will do everything in our power to strip from the bill the age 67 pilot retirement amendment that was added during the House T&I Committee markup. It’s not a serious proposal for meeting travel demand and will not accomplish what’s intended because of the following reasons:

  1. U.S. pilots over age 65 would not be able to fly outside the U.S. because international law prohibits it for health and safety reasons.
  2. Pilots would have to be retrained to be qualified on smaller aircraft, which takes months to complete, adds significant cost, and potentially creates a training backlog across the system.
  3. Reintroducing pilots who have already retired but are under age 67 creates a conflict with every current collective bargaining agreement. Congress is not a party to the collective bargaining agreements between pilots and the carriers. For this reason the provision should really be ruled out of order.
  4. The retirement age change would displace more junior pilots, which would create a domino effect resulting in pilots having to retrain on different aircraft, positions (i.e. First Officer), or schedules that generally pay less. This is not helpful for attracting new recruits to the profession.

"If not removed, this language will result in chaos in the operation and increased training costs and time. It’s not a legitimate proposal for meeting travel demand.

"Bottom line: The proposal is complicated, costly, wastes time, and is a gross violation of worker rights and collective bargaining. It is not good policy and needs to be removed before passage of the final bill."


The Association of Flight Attendants is the Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for over 75 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions. Nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at 

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