ICAO Aviation English – (Preparation)

What is Aviation English?

Aviation English is the international language of civil aviation. With the expansion of air travel in the 20th century, there were safety concerns about the ability of pilots and air traffic controllers to communicate. In 1951, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommended in ICAO Annex 10 to the International Chicago Convention that English be universally used for “international aeronautical radiotelephony communications.” Despite being a recommendation only, ICAO Aviation English was widely accepted.


TEA ENGLISH examiners are familiar with aviation and are sometimes pilots or controllers. Nevertheless there are no extra marks to be gained from talking about correct operational procedures. ICAO ENGLISH tests plain English, not phraseology – the ICAO language standards have been introduced to improve communication when phraseology is insufficient.

Measuring Aviation English

The ICAO framework divides English level into 6 levels — pre-elementary (1), elementary (2), preoperational (3), operational (4), extended (5), and expert (6).
In order for pilots and ATCs to work in international air space they need to be ICAO Level 4

The tests look at 6 aspects of English:

• Vocabulary
• Structure
• Pronunciation
• Fluency
• Comprehension
• Interaction

TEA is suitable for professional, private or student pilots (airplane or helicopter), professional or student controllers, FISOs and radio operators.

What kind of results are given?

The test performance is scored according to the ICAO Language Proficiency Rating Scale.
Any aspect of previous experience or previous test scores cannot be considered as relevant. You will be given a score from 1 to 6 for your performance in Pronunciation, Structure, Vocabulary, Fluency, Comprehension and Interactions.


45 hours Total

Training Period 4 Weeks

2 Hours Daily

Except Sunday

Participant Certified


(Assumes a dialect and/or accent intelligible to the aeronautical community) Pronunciation, stress, rhythm, and intonation are influenced by the first language or regional variation but only sometimes interfere with ease of understanding.

(Relevant grammatical structures and sentence patterns are determined by language functions appropriate to the task) Basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns are used creatively and are usually well controlled. Errors may occur, particularly in unusual or unexpected circumstances, but rarely interfere with meaning.

Vocabulary range and accuracy are usually sufficient to communicate effectively on common, concrete, and work-related topics. Can often paraphrase successfully when lacking vocabulary in unusual or unexpected circumstances.

Produces stretches of language at an appropriate tempo. There may be occasional loss of fluency on transition from rehearsed or formulaic speech to spontaneous interaction, but this does not prevent effective communication. Can make limited use of discourse markers or connectors. Fillers are not distracting.

Comprehension is mostly accurate on common, concrete, and work-related topics when the accent or variety used is sufficiently intelligible for an international community of users. When the speaker is confronted with a linguistic or situational complication or an unexpected turn of events, comprehension may be slower or require clarification strategies

Responses are usually immediate, appropriate, and informative. Initiates and maintains exchanges even when dealing with an unexpected turn of events. Deals adequately with apparent misunderstandings by checking, confirming, or clarifying.

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