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Pilots can't be grounded after 60: EU court

15 September 2011, 16:44 CET
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Pilots can't be grounded after 60: EU court

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(LUXEMBOURG) - Airline pilots should be allowed to continue flying after the age of 60, Europe's highest court said Tuesday, condemning an age limit imposed by German carrier Lufthansa as discriminatory.

The European Court of Justice ruled that governments can impose certain restrictions on pilots in their 60s but that they should not be barred from the cockpit altogether.

"Prohibiting airline pilots from working after the age of 60 constitutes discrimination on grounds of age," the court said in a statement.

"While the right to act as a pilot may be limited from that age, total prohibition goes beyond that which is necessary to ensure air traffic safety."

Three Lufthansa flight captains, Reinhard Prigge, Michael Fromm and Volker Lambach, brought legal action before German courts to challenge their dismissal after they turned 60 -- a limit set in the airline's collective agreement.

The German federal labour court asked the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice whether a collective agreement with an age limit of 60 for airline pilots was compatible with EU law.

While the judges ruled that the age limit was discriminatory, they said EU rules allow governments to adopt measures to ensure public safety.

The court noted that international and German legislation provide that, between age 60 and 64, airline pilots can only continue to fly if they are part of a crew and the other pilots are under 60.

Judgement of the European Court of Justice in Case C-447/09 - full texts

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