The decision to address the language proficiency for pilots and air traffic controllers was first made during the 32nd session of the ICAO Assembly in September 1998 as a direct response to the fatal accidents in which the contributing factor was lack of English proficiency.
The obligation for language proficiency has its root in the Chicago Convention, article 33, requesting to the flight crew to prove language proficiency. Furthermore, the ICAO standards and recommended practices covering LPRs are contained in: Annex 1 – Personnel Licensing; Annex 6 – Operation of Aircraft, Part I and Part III; Annex 10 – Aeronautical Telecommunications (Volume II); Annex 11 – Air Traffic Services.
ICAO concentrates on the implementation, understanding, and the standardization of all the elements, towards the achievement of the English Language Proficiency Level 4 as a minimum operational level, equally valid within all Member States. The goal is extended as well as for the other levels of proficiency and qualifications ( tests builders, raters, examiners, etc).
According to the USOAP program results at this time, overall effective implementation is above 70% and, in particular cases, over 90% or even reaching 100%.
ICAO's Aviation English Language Test Service (AELTS) facilitates ICAO formal recognition of those tests of aviation English designed specifically for aviation and that meet ICAO's Language Proficiency Requirements. Access the AELTS system HERE.