33RD ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Ottawa, Canada, 18-22 April 1994
WP No. 138
Current IFATCA Policy on Early Retirement (Manual, Part IV, page 188.8.131.52, para 5.1.2):
|5.1 Early Retirement
5.1.1 In view of the peculiarity and uniqueness of the profession of Air Traffic Control, and in the interest of air safety, air traffic controllers should be awarded at an earlier age than that of other employees.
5.1.2 Such age of retirement should be determined by negotiations at the national level. However, at the age of 50, a controller shall cease from active control.
5.1.3 Early retirement legislation must be accompanied by an adequate pension scheme, which enables the controller to at least receive pension benefits as if service had continued to normal retirement age.
5.1.4 A controller in active control may retire after 20 years of service (Athens 1985)
According to the IHB, 40 MAs out of 67 state a retirement age of 55 years or less, for the remaining 27 MAs retirement-age is above 55 years. Retiring of controllers at an age of 50 years is theoretically possible in a few countries, however until now, there is no such legislation in force. In most countries, early retirement is based on minimum age and/or minimum time of service.
Recent studies on the effects of stress in ATC carried out in Switzerland, Austria, Canada and New Zealand by independent, highly regarded experts and scientists indicate beyond any doubt persistent and acute stress in ATC as a direct result of the profession and its implications. The study from Austria, being the most detailed one, by combining a series of social attitudes and behaviours, detects a deterioration in certain ATCO’s capabilities as early as at 45 years of age. Developing rather slowly these deficiencies become more significant around the age of 50 to 55. These studies endorse existing IFATCA policy, that asks for ATCOs to retire earlier than other workers. In order to clarify expressions used in the Manual, this should be referred to as “retirement of ATCOs”.
Taking into consideration national differences in regard to length of active duty, age structure, psychological and medical demands, legislation and stress, just to mention a few, it becomes quire obvious, that these individual conditions can only be dealt with directly between the ATCOs, their representatives and the employer. The high demand and responsibility of an active ATCO can also be considered as a higher productivity compared to other professions. This extra productivity should be honoured in a way, that their age of retirement, ATCOs should receive at least that percentage of their last income that other workers will get at national retirement age.
Up to now, no country has introduced a retirement age for ATCOs of 50 years. In addition, a world-wide shortage on experienced ATCOs and as well financial aspects, as mentioned in the para above, indicate, that this fixed age limit becomes more and more irrational. Recent developments, not only in Europe, indicate, that a more flexible solution, based on the age of 55 years, is considered to be adequate by both the ATCOs representatives and the employers. Therefore current IFATCA policy should be amended accordingly. As already mentioned, the ATCOs profession and its high demands require both mental and medical fitness as well as motivation and the acceptance of personal responsibility. Depending on very individual circumstances, these conditions may lead to a situation, where an ATCO is looking for retirement from active control earlier than his retirement age. This should be possible and this option should be referred to as “early retirement of ATCOs”.
Together with an increasing preparedness to privatise ATC, employers start to see the advantages of manning management positions with experienced ATCOs. A highly important aspect in motivating controllers to change their field of activity is to leave them the privilege of retiring at the age of an ATCO. Notwithstanding the paras. above, some individual ATCOs may be looking for extension of their active duties beyond retirement age, provided no medical or proficiency deficits disqualify them from such procedure, this should be possible.
Recent studies clearly indicate the necessity for ATCOs to retire at an age lower than the national retirement age. (Retirement of ATCOs). An individual arrangement, considering national circumstances, should be negotiated between the ATCO’s representatives and the employer. The income of ATCOs should reflect their demanding profession. When ceasing from active control at their retirement age, the ATCO’s revenue should be at least adequate to that of other workers’ reaching national retirement age.
A realistic consideration of all facts concerning the age of retirement for ATCOs indicates, that the age-limit in current IFATCA policy on early retirement should be changed to 55. ATCOs, wishing to cease from active control earlier than retirement age, should be allowed to do so. (Early retirement of ATCOs).
In order to motivate ATCOs to accept responsibility in management or other fields of activity within aviation, their privilege of retiring at the age of ATCO retirement should remain untouched, when ceasing from active control. Individual requests to continue active duty beyond retirement-age, as ATCO should be approved, provided medical and proficiency requirements are met.
To amend page 4151 of the IFATCA Manual so that paragraph 5.1 reads “Retirement” and add a new paragraph 5.2 to read “Early Retirement” and add a new paragraph 5.3 to read “Extended Duty”.
Change paragraph 5.1.1. to read:
5.1.1 In the view of the peculiarity and uniqueness of the profession of Air Traffic Control and in the interest of air safety, ATCOs should be awarded retirement at an age earlier than the national retirement age.
Change paragraph 5.1.2 to read:
5.1.2 The retirement age for ATCOs should be determined by negotiations at the national level, taking into consideration the physical and psychological demands and the occupational stress the profession involves.
Change paragraph 5.1.3 to read:
5.1.3 ATCO retirement legislation must be accompanied by an adequate superannuation scheme, which enables the controller to receive pension benefits, as if service had continued to the national retirement age.
To delete paragraph 5.1.4 and to add a new paragraph:
5.1.4 IFATCA recommends that for active ATCOs the age of retirement should be between 50 and 55.
5.2 Early Retirement
5.2.1 There should be a possibility to cease from active control before ATCO retirement age.
5.2.2 ATCOs leaving active control, but staying in employ within ATC environment should keep their ATCO-retirement privilege.
5.3 Extended Duty
5.3.1 Individual ATCOs, who wish to remain in active duty once they have met the conditions to retire, should be allowed to do so, provided they meet all medical and proficiency requirements.
Last Update: September 20, 2020