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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Airbus A380 pilots win extra pay
Airbus A380 in Singapore Airlines livery takes off during a practice run
Will Airbus captains' pay take off with the A380?
A Singapore court ruling could trigger rises in pilots' pay as the Airbus A380 superjumbo enters service.

The Industrial Arbitration Court agreed with a Singapore Airlines pilots' claim for extra pay for flying the jet.

The Court ruled that A380 pilots should get 700 Singapore dollars (US$458; 230) a month more than the minimum pay for flying a Boeing 747.

Singapore Airlines is the first user of the A380, and the ruling could spark similar claims at other carriers.

Weighty Task

The Court consisted of a three-member panel, consisting of a judge and one representative each from Singapore Airlines and the Airline Pilots Association Singapore (ALPA-S).

The pilots argued that the new aircraft presented a more complex task for pilots than existing ones, and that those flying it therefore deserved recompense for what were in effect extra responsibilities.

ALPA-S president Captain P James told the court that switching from one type of airliner to another is "not as easy as changing cars".

Singapore Airlines, however, said the A380's greater size in comparison to the Boeing 747 it will replace would be offset by automation which would make pilots' jobs easier.

But the panel agreed with the pilots, deciding that flying Airbus' flagship aircraft entailed "very heavy responsibilities for the safety of passengers, crew, cargo and the aircraft".

Captain P James, president, ALPA-S
Captain James has won recognition for the A380 challenge

The A380 can carry up to 850 passengers and 20 crew with its maximum seating configuration.

Singapore Airlines is buying 19 of the A380 jets, and hopes to take delivery of the first in October 2007.

Both Singapore Airlines and ALPA-S recognised that there was a lack of firm information on what flying the new aircraft will involve.

"The A380 is a new aircraft, there's very little by way of an international benchmark to measure things," said Singapore Airlines' spokesman Stephen Forshaw.

The A380 is crucial for the future of Airbus and its parent company EADS. But the project has been plagued by delays.

Problems with the complex wiring required to allow different airlines to specify their own entertainment options and seating layout have meant the aircraft is being delivered about two years late.

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