The retirement of pilots, like many other professions, has some exceptions given the circumstances of the nature of their profession. Therefore, it is not surprising that these exceptions give rise to possible controversy.

However, there are many people who have doubts about the age up to which a pilot can continue to practice his profession. These questions are completely understandable, since there is no legal regulation that dictates a specific age, so there is some debate about the capabilities of pilots after a certain age.

Let us remember that today, the minimum retirement age is 65 years if the worker has contributed for a minimum period of 37 years, or 65 years and 10 months if the person has not reached this contribution period. This age will increase over the years.

As a general rule, it is assumed that airline pilots retire earlier than the pre-established age due to the nature of the activity they perform.

The retirement age may be lowered or brought forward in all those professional groups or activities involving risk, exposure to toxic or unhealthy substances, and risk of accidents, provided that certain criteria are met:

  • When the worker accredits in his profession the minimum activity that corresponds.
  • That he/she is in a registered situation.
  • That he/she complies with all the general requirements demanded in article 206 of Royal Legislative Decree 8/2015, of October 30.

Flying personnel can avail themselves of one of these legal provisions in order to lower the retirement age. Therefore, there is the possibility of withdrawing flight licenses before reaching the ordinary retirement age.

How does the retirement reduction occur?

The retirement reduction in these cases is measured with established parameters. In the case of pilots and second pilots, the retirement reduction coefficient is 0.40.

In the case of the categories of aircraft mechanic, navigator, aerial photography operator, technological equipment operator, aerial photographer and aerial camera operator, the reduction coefficient is 0.30.

Does this mean that all pilots retire early?

No, pilots may not wish to retire before the ordinary minimum retirement age, which means that professionals may continue flying until they reach the established retirement age.

However, it should also be known that Spanish legislation does not allow pilots over 60 years of age to fly aircraft engaged in commercial air transport operations, since the legislation does not allow two pilots of 60 years of age or older to fly together in the same aircraft (multicrew aircraft, i.e. with pilot and co-pilot).

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