Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will raise the maximum age limit for pilots to 67 from 64 in a bid to make up for a shortfall of the professionals caused by growing demand for flights and a rising number of budget carriers, Xinhua News Agency has reported.
According to the reports, the transport ministry will officially lift its age limit on pilots to 67 starting in late April, with the decision, in part, being based on the heavy costs and length of time it takes to train prospective new pilots.
From an industry point of view, some budget carriers have struggled to ensure all their flights are piloted due to the shortage, and in some instances they have had to cancel some flights.
Ministry sources have said, however, that faced with the prospect of older pilots flying aeroplanes, there will be new, stricter health checks implemented to guarantee the older pilots are in good mental and physical shape. In addition, the ministry will put a cap on the amount of hours flown by the older pilots at the equivalent of 80% that of a regular pilot.
A qualified pilot aged below 60 will also have to be on board the same plane when an older pilot is in the cockpit, according to the ministry. The sources also said the ministry has been mulling the idea of hiring ex-Self Defence Forces pilots for commercial work and may also look into the recruitment of foreign pilots to make up for the current deficit.
Bar a few countries that set no restrictions, the International Civil Aviation Organisation dictates that a pilot’s age limit should be 64.
(Source: Xinhua News Agency)