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Partnership with US experts to lift global safety


11 September 2006

Airways New Zealand partners with US experts to lift global aviation safety

Airways New Zealand, New Zealand’s Air Traffic Control and Air Navigation Services provider, is to partner with US-based aviation English language experts, Aviation English Consulting, to provide pilot and air traffic control language proficiency training to the global aviation industry.

The partnership venture, Aviation English Services (AES), will leverage Airways New Zealand’s global reputation for outstanding air traffic control service provision and proven commercial marketing expertise to offer English language proficiency training among the world’s aviation professionals who rely upon standard aviation English language conventions for safety reasons.

Bruce Heesterman, General Manager of Airways New Zealand’s international business subsidiary, Airways International, says the global ruling body for aviation safety has turned up the heat on aviation professionals for whom English is a second language, in a direct response to growing safety concerns. Compliance to ICAO’s new aviation language proficiency requirements is required by March 2008.

“ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, has set mandatory aviation English language proficiency requirements for pilots and controllers in response to international concern over the role of language as a causal factor in a number of high profile accidents and incidents in recent years,” says Mr Heesterman.

A review of ICAO accident and incident reports reveals more than 1700 lives lost between 1975 and 2001 in accidents in which it was determined that inadequate English language proficiency on the part of a controller or flight crew member was a contributing factor.

“Our venture partners from the US were instrumental in the development of ICAO’s new aviation language proficiency requirements. Elizabeth Mathews in particular, recognised as one of the world’s foremost experts in language proficiency development for aviation safety, was contracted by ICAO to provide specialist academic input into ICAO’s standards development related to the use of English for aviation radiotelephony communications.”

In Aviation English Consulting, Elizabeth draws on the linguistic and operational expertise of the leading experts in Aviation English. Aviation English Consulting is guided by a Board of Advisors which includes key figures who contributed to the work of the ICAO PRICE Study Group.
“AES is committed to providing a world-class training product, but also a complete training system. Efficiency is critical in the flight operational environment, and AES is aware that the most efficient methods must be used. These considerations are the two driving forces behind AES’s integrated solution which includes online modules complimented by instructor-led activities to support the acquisition of vocabulary and listening comprehension skills.”

“Aviation English proficiency training presents a new market for Airways International, with significant commercial opportunities for us as we look to leverage our growing reputation for world class air traffic control training.”

Airways New Zealand is nearing completion of a four year, $20 million project to train US FAA Oceanic air traffic controllers and technical personnel at Anchorage, Oakland and New York on a new air traffic management system.

“With a growing global reputation for the development of effective and efficient solutions that will enable pilots and air traffic controllers to comply with ICAO's requirements, Aviation English Services combines Airways New Zealand’s industry credibility and reputation for excellence with the expertise of a team of aviation English consulting, testing and training specialists who are recognised leaders in the global aviation community,” says Mr Heesterman.


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