Foreign pilots in India have language problems

Foreign pilots in India have language problems


Foreign pilots facing language trouble
Sandeep Phukan
© 2004 NDTV.

Monday, March 20, 2006 (New Delhi):

With the rapid expansion of the aviation industry in
India, local airlines have to rely on pilots from non English speaking countries. This can create, and does create, communication problems especially with air traffic controllers.

The CEO of an Indian airline said that two planes collided on the runway because of a language error.

- 200 foreign pilots have been employed by Indian domestic airlines.
- IATA only has language guidelines, language standardisation will be introduced in 2008.
- DGCA is randomly checking flight data recorders to find out what goes on in the cockpit.

Language Issues:
- Language has a direct causal effect on safety.
- Could it be that in critical situations any level of foreign language skills are not enough or not as good as a native speaker’s language skills?
- Can language be standardised?
- A standardised language system must still test for the candidate’s ability to express ideas and not necessarily for the accuracy of syntax (i.e. grammar structure.). Syntax alone does not guarantee accuracy of message, it is the easiest to text and formulate.

- What are the costs of introducing a system that genuinely tests for language skills?
- What would the Public Relations cost be for the Indian domestic airline industry should there be a serious air accidents involving international passengers?
- Why isn’t
India producing more home trained pilots?
- How many similar language critical jobs exist in the modern world?

Should language become a reportable factor in safety incidents? What would be the extra insurance and training costs?

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