In the U.S. the maximum age to work as an air traffic controller (ATC), with limited exception, is 56 years old (source). This maximum age limitation does not apply to ATC personnel who are in staff positions and/or not engaged in the separation of aircraft.

Are there other countries where Air Traffic Controllers have a maximum age limitation?

  • $\begingroup$ not 100% sure, but I read that EASA has the same medical (including age) requirements for controllers as they do for airline pilots. That's one reason they won't hire anyone over 25, as they want to get their money's worth out of you before you're forcibly retired. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    May 25, 2023 at 4:24
  • $\begingroup$ @jwenting EASA does not have an age limit, but controllers have to meet medical requirements similar to those required for commercial pilots. $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2023 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ @60levelchange hmm, of course there still are the mandatory retirement ages for each country. Though most controllers don't reach those before burning out. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Jul 25, 2023 at 8:33
  • $\begingroup$ @jwenting Nope. The mandatory retirement age for controllers in Denmark used to be 60. This was removed a few years ago, since having a mandatory retirement age is considered age discrimination according to EU law. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2023 at 10:17

1 Answer 1


I can only answer from the Australian context.

In Australia there is no upper limit on the age to be an Air Traffic Controller. However, you must maintain four things to be an Air Traffic Controller:

  1. Air Traffic Control Licence: An Air Traffic Controller Licence will remain valid for the lifetime of the holder, provided the conditions specified in CASR Part 65 continue to be met, unless the licence is suspended or cancelled by CASA.
  2. Ratings: A Rating remains in force for the period for which the licence remains in force, or a period of 12 months, whichever is less.
  3. Endorsement: An Endorsementremains remains in force for the period for which the licence and the rating to which the endorsement is linked remains in force, or the period specified by the ATS Certificate holder (The ANSP) for a period no longer than six months, whichever is the less.
  4. Class 3 Aviation Medical: A Class 3 medical is valid for upto 24 months, CASA may issue a lower valid time if they want extra assessments on medical conditions.

Between these requirements most controllers retire in their late 50s to early 60s.

This is mostly due to degrading skills that mean that they don't pass there endorsement recertification checks or medical conditions either invalidate their medical or add restrictions on them.

But I have known one of the controllers hit 70, then retire without loosing any of the above.

  • $\begingroup$ This sound very similar if not identical to European rules $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2023 at 8:13
  • $\begingroup$ Each jurisdiction has there nuances when it comes to keeping on controlling but they do have a similar feel. $\endgroup$
    – Bullfrog
    Jul 30, 2023 at 4:55

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