ICAO and Eurocontrol formalise new language proficiency testing cooperation

- Brussels, Belgium.

ICAO LogoEUROCONTROL, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have signed a new collaboration agreement supporting the more effective implementation of Language Proficiency Requirements.

As part of this collaboration, EUROCONTROL will assist I-HELPP (ICAO Home of English Language Proficiency Programme) by supporting its work to increase awareness of Language Proficiency Requirements and, in particular, by making EUROCONTROL’s English Language Proficiency for Aeronautical Communication (ELPAC) test available to all ICAO Member States.

“In view of the global nature of aviation, clear aeronautical communications are vitally important to safeguard flight safety and ICAO provisions therefore require flight crews, air traffic controllers and aeronautical station operators to demonstrate a measurable aviation-related proficiency in English,” stressed ICAO Council President Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “ICAO is refocusing itself today, under our No Country Left Behind initiative, on improving local and regional capacities and assistance so that ICAO SARPs are effectively adopted and all States may benefit from the presence of safe and reliable international operations.”

Frank Brenner, the Director General of EUROCONTROL, commented on signing the agreement “The collaboration between ICAO and EUROCONTROL is a large step towards improving Language Proficiency Implementation at the global level. States / CAAs wishing to improve their Language Proficiency Implementation may work with I-HELPP and benefit from the support and tools offered.”

To date, the ELPAC test is the only such test to have received recognition from ICAO for being in conformance with its international Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), as well as the further ICAO guidance contained in the UN aviation agency’s Manual on the Implementation of ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements (Doc 9835).

The most recent Session of the ICAO Assembly adopted a Resolution which encourages ICAO to assist States with the implementation of its English language proficiency requirements by strengthening existing partnerships with other organisations and fostering new relationships. Under their newly formalized collaboration in this area, ICAO and EUROCONTROL will better support States by:

  • Creating awareness for the role of Language Proficiency Requirements and supporting States with their implementation.
  • Offering an acceptable means of compliance for meeting the Language Proficiency Requirements (i.e. an ICAO-recognised Language Proficiency test).
  • Building a gateway for Language Proficiency raters, licence holders and test service providers.
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