The world's first pilots to fly the super jumbo Airbus A380 will be paid more than those flying conventional jumbo jets, an arbitration court ruled on Friday.
The Industrial Arbitration Court judgement settled a pay dispute between Singapore Airlines, the launch customer for the double-decker A380, and its pilots.
A three-member panel ruled that the minimum salary for A380 captains will be $ 700 (458 US) a month more than that for captains on the Boeing 747-400 (744) conventional jumbo jet.
"The minimum salary point for captains on the Airbus 380 salary range will be $ 700 more than the minimum salary point for the B744 salary range," said the panel, consisting of a representative each from the airline and the pilots, as well as a judge.
They ruled that the minimum for first officers on the double-decker super jumbo will be $ 450 more than on the 747-400.
During the hearing, the Air Line Pilots Association Singapore (ALPA-S) president, Captain P James, argued that asking for higher salaries to fly the double-decker A380 fit long-established practice.
"Different fleets command different pay. This is market practice and has also been the company's practice," he argued.
SIA wanted to peg the A380 pilots' pay to that of the wage scale for the Boeing B777, where a captain earns a starting salary of 9,300 Singapore dollars a month.
The carrier, one of the most profitable in the business, is scheduled to receive the first of its planes in October after a series of delays that plagued European manufacturer Airbus.
The airline has committed to buy 19 of the A380s.
ALPA-S, with about 1,700 members, has long been regarded as the only workers' group in Singapore willing to stand up to the government, which has kept a tight rein on industrial action.
Singapore Airlines is owned by state-linked investment company Temasek Holdings.