The new ICAO English proficiency standard requires that pilots and air traffic controllers on international routes be able to speak and understand English in a mutually intelligible way. The standard affects both native and non-native speakers of English in that all are expected to be able to modify their speech in such a way that communication is made as easy and seamless as possible. In some instances this means that some form of further English training will be required for the professional’s ability for clear communication to develop. As both individual aviators and companies wrestle with training issues, it is important to understand a few basic principles about language learning and teaching.
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