Language and Culture as Human Factors in Aviation

A number of airline accidents resulting in more than 1000 fatalities have been attributed in some part to inadequate English language proficiency or inadequate cultural awareness in pilots or controllers involved in the chain of events leading to the accident.

The United Nation's Specialized Agency in charge of regulating international aviation is ICAO the International Civil Aviation Organization. In response to the clear need for language proficiency requirements in aviation, ICAO adopted Standards requiring English language testing for pilots and controllers in 2008.

While the ICAO language standards are an important step to improving aviation communication safety, there are great gaps in the implementation, in particular, regarding

  1. Standards of aviation English teaching, teacher training and testing;
  2. Investigation of the role of language in aviation accidents, and
  3. Research into language as a human factor in aviation communications.

The Language as a Human Factor in Aviation Resource Center aims to support improved aviation safety through better understanding of the issues around language and culture in flight safety. We welcome your interest.


Browse the International Civil Aviation English Association Workshop (click to browse ICAEA)


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