For many years the International Civil Aviation Organization (“ICAO”) has promoted services to help its Member States more accurately assess the English language speaking and listening abilities of pilots and air traffic controllers in an effort to further improve aviation safety worldwide in day-to-day air transport operations.
English language test service providers all around the world can apply for and receive an endorsement for tests that rate proficiency in English used in aviation according to ICAO requirements.
ICAO has done this in response to past fatal aviation accidents in which the lack of proficiency in English was identified as a contributing factor.
Specifically, ICAO wants to ensure that pilots and air traffic personnel are proficient in conducting and comprehending radiotelephony communications in the English language, including requirements that the English language shall be available on request at all stations on the ground serving designated airports and routes used by international air services.
ICAO developed the endorsement service in partnership with other recognized international professional aviation associations including the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (“IFALPA”), the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (“IFATCA”), the International Language Testing Association (“ILTA”), and the International Civil Aviation English Association (“ICAEA”).
If English is important enough to be the official language of the friendly skies all over the world, then isn’t English important enough to be the official language of the United States?