When ICAO published its Language Proficiency Requirements (LPRs) in 2003, it noted that "recent major accident investigations have indicated lack of proficiency and comprehension of the English language by flight crews and air traffic controllers alike as a contributing factor." (Resolutions adopted at the 32nd ICAO Assembly, Article 32-16: “Proficiency in the English Language for Radiotelephony Communications.”) 

Furthermore, according to ICAO, “between 1976 and 2000, more than 1,100 passengers and crew lost their lives in accidents where language issues played a contributory role.” (Mathews, “New Provisions for English Language Proficiency Are Expected To Improve Aviation Safety,” ICAO Journal, vol. 59, 2004, pp. 4-6.)

In 2017, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University launched the Language as a Human Factor in Aviation Safety (LHUFT) initiative to:

  • Increase awareness.
  • Improve aviation safety.
  • Support human factors specialists, accident investigators and safety experts in considering the role of language and communication in safe aviation operations.

For more information about language as a human factor, explore the following:

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