Volume 32, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139


As a result of investigations showing that communication problems can be a significant contributing factor to major aviation accidents, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has established a set of Language Proficiency Requirements. All pilots and air traffic controllers engaged in international aviation must be certified by their national civil aviation authorities as meeting the requirements by March 2011. This has created a demand for tests designed to assess the speaking and listening skills of aviation personnel, and language testers have become involved as developers and evaluators of the various assessment instruments. The present paper gives an overview of the issues and introduces the themes discussed by the other contributors to this special issue of the journal, covering both the linguistic nature of aviation communication and more practical considerations in test design.


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  1. Alderson, J. Charles
    (2009) Air safety, language assessment policy, and policy implementation: The case of Aviation English. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 29, 168–187. doi: 10.1017/S0267190509090138
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0267190509090138 [Google Scholar]
  2. ICAO
    ICAO (2004) Manual on the Implementation of the Language Proficiency Requirements (Doc 9835). Montréal: International Civil Aviation Organization.
    [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
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