Is the Age Limit of 65 still Lawful?

Yes, said the Advocate General in the case of Fries v Lufthansa CityLine GmbH C-190/16 when applied to commercial pilots.

Mr Fries worked as a pilot for Lufthansa in Germany.   His role also included training other pilots.  Under the relevant collective agreement his employment was due to terminate on reaching retirement age under the pension scheme, two months after his 65th birthday.  However, as soon as he turned 65 Lufthansa dismissed him (citing the EU Regulation on Civil Aviation Aircrew).

Mr Fries argued that the age restriction in the Regulation was invalid as it was contrary to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Interestingly, the Advocate General stated his opinion that the age limit of 65 was both appropriate and necessary to the aim of achieving air traffic safety.

Niki Avraam, Employment Partner comments: This case shows that the general rules on age limits are not dead in the water.  The Advocate General thought that general rules based on age may be justified as long as it can be maintained that, in general, they properly apply in a reasonable majority of cases.


Howat Avraam Solicitors provide Commercial, Employment and Contract Dispute advice to companies and business owners.  As business owners ourselves, we have a pragmatic in-house approach to resolving issues before they arise by working alongside our clients.  We are commercial, practical and entrepreneurial in our approach to legal services.

To discuss any employment matter on a no obligation basis, please contact Niki Avraam, Employment Partner, on 020 7884 9194 or email Niki at  Alternatively, visit our website at

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