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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Crew transport and standby duty

Crew transport:

The airline provided the crew with transport to and from the airport for flight duties. I joined some 47 years ago and it was one of the perks a crew would enjoy during those days. This privilege was accorded to all those crew who joined before 22 August 1974. Those who joined after 22 August 1974 were given a fixed monthly allowance of $277 according to the 2012 Collective Agreement.

Personally, I prefer the free transport over the payment of the transport allowance. I remember the drivers who picked us up for work and vice versa were our ground staff colleagues. They were permanent MSA staff just like us. We would go for a meal together after they've picked us from the airport after a flight whenever they were not too busy. There was a high level of camaraderie between us and the drivers.Whenever we overslept or overlooked our rosters, they would knock at our doors and remind us of our flight schedule.

The crew operating the same flight would often get to share the same transport. The transport came in the form of a company's van or a car (Morris Oxford or Austin Cambridge). I could recall there was no highway in Singapore those days but the ride was usually smooth and pleasant. We did not have many traffic lights like now. Back in 1968, Singapore's population was about 2 million compared to the present 5.47 million (2014). There were lots of greenery  and beautiful sceneries as we travelled from our home to Paya Lebar Airport (I used to live at the Sembawang area).

Standby duty:

Whenever we were on standby duty, we were not allowed to leave our homes. Many of us did not have telephone and the only means of contacting us was through messages relayed to us by the drivers.
Some years later, newly recruited crew were required to have telephones in their homes. Then came the pagers. These days, the control centre staff would contact the standby crew via their mobile phones. Unlike the old days, the standby crew of today are allowed to leave their homes as long as they remain contactable through their mobile phones.


ET said...

There were a few drivers whom I got along so well that sometimes would have breakfast with me in my kampong house, when picking me up early in the morning. One of them even let me take over the wheels of the VolksWagen van on retuning from a flight. Sometimes we also would have a meal on the way from Paya Lebar Airport before dropping me off at home. Those were the days I cherish much, like BT.

Anonymous said...

There was a Malay steward who was sacked because he took coy's cigarettes for the drivers.
How many old timers remember this incident?

Anonymous said...

Whats your point of bringing this up? Nobody gives a hoot about the Malay (if he even exist) or the cigarettes.