This is apropos the issue of retirement age for pilots flying with airlines regulated by CAA Pakistan that has been extended to 65 years. The arguments are based on the fact that airline pilots flying in USA have been allowed by FAA to have their licences valid till the age of 65 years and decision to utilise them has been left at the discretion of airline operators. The average life expectancy in the USA today is between 70 to 79 years, while the normal retirement age since 1960 for US Social Security Pension is 67 years. Mandatory retirement is justified by the argument that certain occupations are either too dangerous, or require high levels of physical and mental skills, such as those of air traffic controllers and airline pilots. According to UN report the US GDP per capita is $48,666/ and the US government expenditure on health is highest in the world. Given the excellent medical surveillance system and health facilities available in USA, the FAA extended the utilization for airline pilots to 65 years, which is well below the normal retirement age of 67 years and average life expectancy age of 70 years. Based on the same arguments the normal retirement age in UK and Canada is 65 years. In all these countries, the mandatory age for non-utilization of airline pilots is either same, or below the normal national retirement age and much lower than their average life expectancy. In Pakistan, according to UN, the average life expectancy age is 55 years and only 60.3 percent of Pakistanis survive between the ages of 15 to 64 years and a mere 4.3 percent live beyond 65 years. Pakistan's GDP per capita in 2011 was $2,851/ while government expenditure on health per capita is a meager $71, which is amongst the lowest in the world. In USA, UK, Canada etc 100 percent of birth registration is accurate and FAA has never been heard of amending or revising the age of airline pilots based on affidavits, unlike Pakistan where there are numerous such reports of ages being revised for airline pilots both by CAA and PIA. Even our former President Musharraf filed an affidavit seeking revision of his age during his presidency. There is no shortage of CPL holders in Pakistan who can be trained for airline flying, nor is there any rocket science involved in their training. The extension in age up to 65 years for utilization of airline pilots is more than both average life expectancy and normal national retirement age and hence involves an element of risk, which is not advisable.

GULL ZAMAN,

Peshawar, March 17.