In recent years there has been widespread concern about insufficient English proficiency in the aviation industry on the part of Non-Native English Speaking (NNES) pilots or air traffic controllers and its role as a contributing factor in the chain of events leading to accidents or incidents. These concerns have led ICAO, a special agency of the United Nations responsible for all aviation- related matters including establishing international law and policies, to strengthen its provisions regarding English for radiotelephony communication.
While Korea was one of the first member states to develop its own test of aviation English, it subverted the ICAO policy by disclosing all forms of the test on its website, thereby ensuring that all aviation personnel were able to reach the minimum required standard. In spite of this, there was strong resistance to the ICAO policy from incumbent Korean airline pilots and air traffic controllers, ￼most notably from those who had many years of experience.
This study explored the construct of pilot and air traffic controller communication in international flight operation and air traffic control. The construct was examined in the context of international aviation communication in Korea as a way of investigating the language proficiency testing policy established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
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