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Allied Pilots Association: “Perceived Pilot Shortage is Over”

FORT WORTH, Texas (March 8, 2024) – The Allied Pilots Association (APA), representing the 16,000 pilots of American Airlines, cited the slowdown in hiring as further evidence that the U.S. pilot supply is sufficient to meet forecast demand and that the mandatory retirement age for pilots should stand at 65.

“The perceived pilot shortage is over, eliminating any further need for policymakers to consider changing the retirement age,” said APA President Capt. Ed Sicher.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines all recently announced plans to slow or halt pilot hiring for the remainder of 2024. In an investor note this week, TD Cowen said this: “We now believe the demand is fulfilled and expect hiring to normalize in 2024.”

“Safety considerations drove the establishment of the current international standard of age 65 mandatory retirement for pilots. Before making any change to this standard, we need data demonstrating the margin of safety would remain intact,” Capt. Sicher said. “No such data exists, and considering any change to pilot retirement age in the absence of supporting data would be ill-advised. Fortunately, there is no longer any perceived urgency.”

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 16,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s website is