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The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requires that the English proficiency of pilots and air traffic controllers not only be standardized, but also be formally evaluated.
The decision to address language proficiency for pilots and air traffic controllers was first made by the 32nd session of the ICAO 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.
In line with the introduction of Amendment 164 to ICAO Annex 1 on 27 November 2003, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) implemented the language proficiency requirement for pilots and flight engineers. This stipulates that all holders of Singapore flight engineer licences or professional/private pilot licences shall demonstrate the ability to speak and understand the English language used for radiotelephony communications in accordance with the ICAO holistic descriptors and language proficiency rating scale (Level 4 or above).
Singapore implemented a dual path assessment framework, i.e. language screening and language testing.
Language Screening is to assess candidate’s language proficiency for Level 6 across six areas of linguistic description and is only available for:
- A person who has not done a Language Screening previously; and
- A trainee in an ab-initio Private Pilot License (PPL) or Commercial Pilot License (CPL) course approved by CAAS or persons converting a foreign licence to Singapore licence.
Language testing, known as Aviation English Competency Testing (AECT), will apply to all other cases.
CAAS partnered the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation Regional Language Centre (SEAMEO RELC) to tap into its experience and expertise in linguistics and language education for the conduct of language testing, known as Aviation English Competency Test, AECT
The AECT consists of a 20-minute interview to observe and assess the natural response and language proficiency of each candidate. The test is conducted by two CAAS-authorised testers, both will be expert linguists from SEAMEO RELC.
The interview will be recorded for validation purpose and the record will be kept through the validity period of the licence’s language proficiency that has been endorsed.
The interview consists of 3 parts as follow:
The candidate’s overall English Language Proficiency level is determined by the lowest rating assigned in any of the language proficiency skills of the rating scale.
For instance, a candidate who is rated Level 4 for the category of Pronunciation but is rated Level 5 for all other categories will be given an overall proficiency rating of Level 4. Hence an individual must demonstrate proficiency at Level 5 in all categories in order to receive a Level 5, and so on for other higher levels.
The result is released within a week after completing the AECT by CAAS Personnel Licensing office.
Applicants must make reservation with RELC at least 2 weeks before the intended date of taking the AECT. Reservation is on a first-come first-served basis and each session can take up to a maximum of 8 test applicants only.
Please be informed that the AECT test in April and May 2020 is cancelled and the next available test is in June 2020.
To make reservation for the AECT, please complete the online registration form.
For those applicants who do not have a CAAS licence, please click here to download the Letter of Acknowledgement.
For more information, please refer to Procedures and Conditions.
The test dates are as follows:
Candidates are required to complete a registration form and make payment at RELC on the day of their test. Payment is to be made directly to RELC by cash, Visa or MasterCard only.
The test fee, as stipulated by RELC, will be charged as follows:
RELC Examinations Bureau Level 3, RELC Building , 30 Orange Grove Road , Singapore 258352
Please refer to Location Map of RELC Examinations Bureau.