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Tipsheet

Forgetting He Works for 79-Year-Old, Buttigieg Says Pilots Must Retire by 65

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

As commercial air travel woes continue — made worse by vaccine mandates that forced otherwise qualified crews to the sidelines or unemployment office — the Biden administration, specifically Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, isn't looking to make changes to keep more crews flying.

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During an interview on Fox News Sunday, Buttigieg called for a "new generation of qualified pilots" to meet increased demand for flight crews, but admitted the U.S. air travel system is "still not at an acceptable level in terms of performance, cancellations and delays." According to Flight Aware data, Sunday saw more than 6,200 delays into, out of, or within the United States and 305 outright cancelations. That is, the problems facing air travelers and airlines now won't be immediately fixed by Buttigieg's plan to get more fresh pilots in the pipeline.

Still, Buttigieg maintained his opposition to raising the retirement age for commercial pilots from 65 to 67 — something of a stop-gap fix proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to allow currently qualified pilots to continue flying for a few more years to allow younger pilots to be recruited and trained to eventually take their places.

"I'm not going to be on board with anything that compromises safety," Buttigieg said of the potential age cap increase that he believes would endanger air travelers. "The answer is not to keep the baby boomer generation in the cockpit indefinitely," he added. 

So, the Secretary of Transportation believes it's too unsafe to allow someone in their mid-sixties to fly a commercial airliner and prefers forced retirement at 65. But President Joe Biden, Buttigieg's boss, is 79 and still not halfway through his first term — and that's fine?

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The apparent lack of self-awareness from Buttigieg — who either doesn't get or didn't think others would notice — is typical for the Biden administration. The irony of saying pilots should be forced to resign because those over 65 are compromising the safety of a few dozen people on board their aircraft — while working for the 79-year-old president who's in charge of protecting more than 300 million Americans — is peak Biden disarray. 

Buttigieg, of course, was caught off-guard by the supply chain crisis, and apparently the current issues with American air travel also surprised the sometimes-on-duty Transportation Secretary. Meanwhile, Biden's own party seems to be seeking a forced retirement for the president by looking for someone, literally anyone else, to run at the top of the Democrat's ticket in 2024. 

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