English language training for Air Traffic Controllers must go beyond basic ATC Vocabulary

Miscommunications can have serious consequences – especially when co-ordinating aircraft flying in a variety of environments and variables.  Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) responsible for international flights must have the skills in English to communicate in a very broad sense – much more than talking and repeating standard and learned phrases.

The training and testing of controllers in English should require that controllers be able to respond to unusual, as well as routine instructions.

While the report below (from 1997) delivers the point that ATC professionals must learn more than the standard phraseology, it should be recognised that this learning requirement should not restricted to just ATC professionals, but also for pilots (especially with non-ESL backgrounds) as they are also involved in possible communications from outside the standard responses.

 English language training for Air Traffic Controllers must go beyond basic ATC Vocabulary

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