Air Canada's pilots union has appealed to the country's Federal Court to maintain a mandatory age-60 retirement rule at the carrier.

The Federal Court is conducting hearings into the matter this week, after a rights tribunal determined that two Air Canada pilots were unfairly forced to retire after reaching age 60, and called for their reinstatement.

"We are asking the Federal Court to reaffirm that the law and previous Supreme Court decisions recognize our members' democratic right to determine their age of retirement through collective bargaining," says Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) president Captain Paul Strachan.

Retirement at age 60 is currently set in the Air Canada pilots' contract and pension plan. The ACPA warns that the Federal Court's decision "could potentially impact the wages and benefits of thousands of federally-regulated employees working under collective agreements containing a fixed age of retirement".

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal recently decided to reinstate two retired Air Canada pilots, although it did not extend the reinstatement to all Air Canada pilots. The reinstatement comes on condition that each pilot hold a valid pilot license, a medical certificate showing that he is fit to fly, and current instrument flight rating.

Counsel for ACPA will argue that the tribunal erred at law by ignoring Supreme Court decisions which found it acceptable for employers and employees to negotiate a normal age of retirement.

A recent survey of more than 1,800 Air Canada pilots showed that 82% supported retirement at age 60 or younger, according to the ACPA.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news