ICAO updates its Aviation English Language Test Service site

A front view of the Antonov 124-100 with the helicopters in the front of the aircraft. One of the biggest aircrafts in the world, the Antonov 124-100 carrying 1 of four Russian helicopters coming from Pakistan arrived Burundi 29 August. The helicopters will serve Burundi for emergency relief operations, evacuation and other missions. Pakistani and South African team will be working together with those helicopters. 29 August 2004The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has announced the launch of a new and improved Aviation English Language Test Service (AELTS) website. First launched in 2011, the website for this voluntary service has been made significantly more intuitive and user-friendly, responding to ongoing feedback from the aviation English language testing community.

“Aviation English language tests are designed to measure the speaking and listening ability of pilots and controllers, a key factor in the day-to-day safety of air transport operations,” noted the UN body’s Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin.

“As aviation continues to grow, with almost 100,000 flights a day today and 200,000 daily expected by 2030, it’s imperative that ICAO continues to evolve and refine its safety support tools,” continued Benjamin. “This helps to ensure that passengers around the world can continue to look to air travel as their safest means of rapid global connectivity.”

ICAO’s AELTS directly supports the UN standard-setting body’s Doc 9835, the Manual on the Implementation of ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements. By measuring test performance against its Language Proficiency Requirements (LPR) criteria, ICAO is able to provide important information on test quality so that States, pilots and controllers can make the most informed selection possible when choosing a test provider.

An international AELTS Steering Committee, comprised of highly qualified experts from States, associations and non-profit organizations, advises ICAO on best practices and provides guidance on how to develop, implement, manage and improve the test assessment service.



ICAO’s Aviation English Language Test Service was created as part of an initiative to improve aviation safety worldwide.

The decision to address language proficiency for pilots and air traffic controllers was first made by the 32nd Session of the Assembly in September 1998 as a direct response to fatal accidents in which the lack of proficiency in English was identified as a contributing factor. In March 2003, the ICAO Council adopted a comprehensive set of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) that strengthen language proficiency requirements for pilots and air traffic controllers involved in international operations. It was further determined that pilots, air traffic controllers and aeronautical station operators involved in international operations should attain the ability to speak and understand English to a level 4 proficiency of ICAO’s language proficiency rating scale.

The purpose of this service is therefore to identify and formally recognize those tests of aviation English designed specifically for aviation and that meet ICAO’s Language Proficiency Requirements.  

ICAO does not assess or recognize tests of general English, those for another language than English or any other tests that may be used in aviation (such as for licensing). It focuses instead on assessing tests designed specifically for aviation.

ICAO remains the sole owner of the Language Proficiency Requirements and of this test service. ICAO does not represent any other organization when offering this service and remains solely responsible for developing and offering it.

Please see the FAQ for more detailed information on the service process.

The information contained herein is for general use and may change without notice, from time to time and as needed to stay current. All questions about the test service that are not addressed in the FAQ should be clarified directly with ICAO. Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly. However, ICAO takes no responsibility for, and will not be liable for, the website being temporarily unavailable due to technical issues beyond our control, or otherwise. ICAO further assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that may occur from obtaining or failing to obtain ICAO recognition.