In a recent report, Sky News has highlighted a total of 267 aviation incidents that required reporting which were based on pilots’ language problems.
Although pilots and controllers are required to pass the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) English qualification at level 4, one such incident was a pilot on an approach to Manchester Airport confusing ‘left’ with ‘right’.
With the ICAO Operational Level 4 test focussing on speaking and listening, it is assessed in a face-to-face situation. This has led to allegations of cheating:
In one country, candidates who started with no English skills received their certificates after 10 days’ tuition – an “impossible” feat, according to one of the report’s contributors.
The report has also led to Wales’ Esperanto chairman Bill Chapman making calls for the international language of aviation to be Esperanto, instead of English.