Sky’s the limit as helicopter pilot sues Civil Aviation Authority over age discrimination

A 60-year-old helicopter pilot is taking the aviation regulator to court because it will not issue him with a solo flying license due to his age.

Ian Evans, a self-employed helicopter pilot, was forced to retire on his 60th birthday when the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) refused to change its policy on solo flying when the new age discrimination legislation came into force.

The CAA is confident it is not breaking the new law and argues the age limit is in line with internationally agreed medical risk factors.

Under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, a default retirement age of 65 is stipulated. However, since they came into effect, employers are still able to set a lower retirement age if they can show this to be objectively justified.

Setting a retirement age of 60 would have to be weighed up against its discriminatory effects, as Jonathan Maude, head of employment department at law firm Manches has previously told Personnel Today.

However, Evans will fight his case at an industrial tribunal as he claims not being allowed to work is making him lose out on £20,000 a year.

His challenge on the grounds of age discrimination will set an important precedent according to law firm SJ Berwin.

A statement from the firm said: “Mr Evans’ challenge on grounds of age discrimination is the first to be made public and it will also set an important precedent because he is challenging a regulator, rather than an employer.”

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