ICAO's English Language Proficiency Requirements
In 1997 ICAO recognized the importance of improving communication between pilots and air traffic controllers in order to avoid accidents.
The Air Navigation Commission (ANC) reviewed the existing provisions for air-ground and ground-ground voice communication in the international civil aviation context. The ANC made changes to strengthen ICAO Annexes 1, 6, 10, 11 about language proficiency requirements for pilots and air traffic controllers.
Changes to ICAO’s English Language Proficiency Requirements
Annex 1 describes the language proficiency and testing requirements. Annex 1 also contains a language proficiency rating scale with six proficiency levels. Finally, Annex 1 describes how language proficiency will affect personnel licensing.
Annexes 6 and 11 establish that all pilots and air traffic controllers must comply with the ICAO language proficiency requirements outlined in Annex 1. Thus pilots and air traffic personnel must be proficient in both ICAO phraseology and plain English.