South African Civil Aviation Requirements:

ICAO has specified English Language Proficiency Requirements, and mandated that these requirements shall be effective from 5 March 2008.

In accordance with the requirements, Pilots and Air Traffic Service Personnel shall demonstrate a minimum proficiency of at least Operational Level ‘4’ of both ICAO Standard Phraseology and plain language, to be issued with or to maintain their respective licences.

The requirements further indicate that Pilots and Air Traffic Services Personnel who have not been rated at Level 6 proficiency shall be tested for English language proficiency at regular intervals to ensure that they remain proficient at the required level. Pilots and Air Traffic Service Personnel who have been rated at Level 6 proficiency shall not require retesting.

The Six Language Proficiency Levels:

Level 6: Expert Retesting not required
Level 5: Extended Retesting required every six years
Level 4: Operational (Minimum level) Retesting required every three years
Level 3: Pre-operational Licence not issued/maintained
Level 2: Elementary Licence not issued/maintained
Level 1: Pre-elementary Licence not issued/maintained

Language Proficiency Requirement applies to speaking and listening proficiency only and does not address the ability to read or write, in the English Language.

Herewith a list of the licences affected by ICAO language requirements:

  • Aeroplane and helicopter pilots.
  • Glider and free balloons.
  • Air Traffic Service Personnel.
  • Aeronautical station operators.