In the early fifties, 7 expatriate pilots (6 captains and 1 first officer) known as the Captains’ Panel, represented the pilot group in meetings with Management to discuss improved work conditions and pilot problems.
This Panel was replaced in 1960 by the Malayan Airways Pilots’ Association (MAPA), which was registered as a Society. Membership was open only to expatriate pilots, who formed the greater majority of the pilot group in those days. The few national pilots in the Company were represented by the Local Employees’ Union (LEU), which was a trade union whose members consisted of all categories of local staff in the Company.
It was not until late 1964, as a result of a deadlock in negotiations between MAPA and the Company on wage claims that MAPA registered as a trade union to re-file its claims on the company. Meanwhile, national pilots’ interests remained neglected. Though attempts were made by the small group of national pilots to join MAPA, their efforts were thwarted by a lone national pilot who refused to leave the LEU to join MAPA. Because of the failure to obtain 100% consent from national pilots to leave the LEU for MAPA, the Pilots’ Association remained closed to national pilots.
In mid 1964, one single event, probably more than anything else, changed the course of history for MAPA and the national pilots. The lone dissenting pilot resigned from the Company. Almost immediately the remaining national pilots in the Company left LEU and joined MAPA. From the mid-Sixties to the mid-Seventies MAPA changed its name twice, first to MSAPA, then SIAPA – following the restructuring of Malayan Airways (renamed Malaysian Airways in 1963) to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines and then Singapore Airlines.
Members’ interest in Association affairs ranged from high during collective agreement negotiations to minimal in the intervening years. With the recruitment of more national pilots in the Company, national pilot membership in the Association gradually outnumbered expatriate membership.
The unity between expatriates and nationals was built on common ideals and which was a hallmark of the first ever Executive Council. In late 1980, at the height of its industrial dispute with the Company, SIAPA had 93% of the total pilot force in the Company in its ranks.
On May 1981, the AIR LINE PILOTS’ ASSOCIATION – SINGAPORE (ALPA-S) was born, registered under the Trade Unions Act, Singapore.
Today, ALPA-Singapore is a professional body totally committed to the Professional interests of its members. It is actively involved in IFALPA Technical Committees and is represented in other technical forums both regionally and internationally.