Sen. Grassley, lawmakers push to address nation-wide commercial pilot shortage
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Senator Chuck Grassley is one of the lawmakers behind a bill that aims to address the nation-wide shortage of commercial pilots.
The shortage been causing widespread delays and cancellations this summer.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there have already been 2.7 million flights this year. So far, 3.2 percent have been canceled, and more than 20 percent delayed.
Compare that to 2019, the last year before the pandemic, there were nearly twice as many flights, and 1.8 percent were cancelled. Delays were about 18.7 percent of all flights.
The bill would raise the mandatory retirement age for pilots from 65 to 67.
According to a release from Grassley’s office, right now, about 5,000 pilots will be required to retire in the next two years.
Senator Grassley dismissed concerns when it came to letting older pilots continue to fly.
“I’m pointing out to you that: they have to be people that don’t have health conditions that would endanger the traveling public. And hopefully, team up with somebody that’s younger, but this is meant to be a temporary measure, not a long term measure,” Grassley said.
When asked if the bill would get broad support, Grassley said he thought all lawmakers were hearing the same thing, nobody likes having a canceled flight.
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