Passengers on a Polish airlines flight to Warsaw were stuck on the ground for five hours at London's Heathrow Airport because the pilots were too old, the Daily Telegraph reported. During a routine check, inspectors from the British Civil Aviation Authority found that both pilots on the flight were over the age of 60. Under regulations that went into effect in 2006, at least one of the pilots on an international flight must be below the 60 mark.
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"In this case there was an unfortunate coincidence," a representative from the Polish airline company told the Telegraph. "The crew roster was completed shortly before the aircraft left Warsaw, and the crew scheduling system did not issue a warning that both pilots were over 60, which it always does.”
Last year, three pilots challenged Germany in court after they were fired once they turned 60, the Telegraph reported in September. Europe ruled that 60-year-old pilots should not be completely banned from the cockpit, as long as certain restrictions are in place.
In the United States, pilots must retire by age 65.
But age may be the least of airplane passengers' worries. The British Airline Pilots Association said Thursday that 43 percent of its members have admitted to falling asleep on the job, the Daily Mail reported.
And last week, a Frontier Airlines flight was delayed in Omaha when the pilot was suspected of being drunk on the job.