Singapore Airlines Reserves A380 Cockpits for Citizen Pilots

 - May 19, 2014, 5:25 PM
Jobs flying Singapore Airlines' 19 Airbus A380s are effectively reserved for Singaporean citizens. [Photo: SIA/Sim Kok Chwee]

Singapore Airlines (SIA) confirmed to AIN last week that it has a so-called “pass over” policy through which it reserves pilot jobs on its Airbus A380 fleet almost exclusively for Singaporean citizens. The policy means that a Singaporean pilot, irrespective of his seniority number, will be preferred for A380 vacancies over expatriate colleagues.

SIA currently employs around 2,000 pilots, 450 of whom are assigned to its 19 A380s. The remaining 1,550 cockpit crew operate the carrier’s 72 Boeing 777-300ER/300/200s and its 19 A330-300s. According to the airline, around 30 percent of all its pilots are Singaporean nationals, the remainder constituting a mix of Malaysians, Australians, Indians and Europeans. The foreigners are classified as non-Singaporeans but are hired on local terms, with the exception of the“pass over” clause applying to A380 flight-deck vacancies. It takes a foreign pilot 10 years to be promoted to captain from first officer. For a Singaporean, this period is eight years to take account of the two years of military service that they are required to complete at the age of 18.

SIA started operating the A380 in 2007 and in May of that year a Singapore arbitration court ruled that the basic salary for an A380 captain should be S$700 ($559) more per month than for a captain in the carrier’s then 747-400 fleet. The differential for A380 first officers was set at S$450 ($359). SIA deploys the A380s on flights to London, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. Beginning May 30, the Indian cities of Mumbai and New Delhi will be added to the network.