HC Deb 09 November 1999 vol 337 c487W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what measures he is taking at European Communities Level to enforce compliance with the age limits in the joint aviation requirement on flight crew licensing. [97144]

Mr. Mullin

Under Council Regulation 3922-91 on the harmonisation of aviation technical standards the national aviation authorities of member states are required to be members of the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA). The Regulation also adopted some of the JAA's Joint Aviation Requirements (JARs) as the European Community's harmonised standard and established a procedure to adopt future JARs as the EC standard. Where a JAR has not yet been adopted under EC law, JAA member states implement them under national law and are obliged, under the JAA Arrangements, to use their best efforts to implement JARs by the due date. The JAR on Flight Crew Licensing (JAR-FCL) was adopted by the JAA in 1996 with an implementation date of 1 July 1999.

JARs generally set standards that are compatible with those set by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) under the terms of the Chicago Convention, but can introduce differences, so long as member states notify the differences to ICAO. In drawing up the JAR-FCL, the JAA determined that commercial pilots can safely be licensed to the age of sixty five, provided that only one pilot in a multi pilot aircraft may be over 60: this differs from the ICAO standard under which a person can only act as a pilot in command if they are under 60. The UK and most other JAA member states are, or are in the process of, applying this age limit. However, the French Authorities are continuing to apply the ICAO age limits within French airspace, although co-pilots up to the age of 65 are permitted. The UK has raised this matter both within the JAA and directly with the French authorities.