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"We used Paul to help us organise a wedding in Ronda for my English daughter and Scottish son-in-law. It was a very tricky matter, because it is not normal for foreigners to marry in the town. Nevertheless, we persevered and Paul did all the interpreting, talking to officials and making phone calls on our behalf. Needless to say, the wedding went perfectly, with a large part of the thanks going to Paul."
Mary Jackson, Colwyn Bay, Wales, May 2006

Clear to land! ¿Qué? PDF
Friday, 04 March 2011 11:50

Some Spanish air traffic controllers’ mastery of the language of international air travel - English - is not up to scratch, according to the European Union. Amazingly 500 Spanish controllers, do not have an adequate level of English. Sounds dangerous to me .....

A minor row has broken out over the standard of English of a quarter of the 2000 air traffic controllers  working in Spain. Spanish controllers, and indeed pilots, were due to come into line by tomorrow, 5th March, by which time they had to obtain the level of English now being demanded by a European directive. However, the Spanish Government has passed a Royal Decree to give non-compliers a further 18 months to obtain the correct qualifications in English. Those controllers, and pilots, without the qualification at the end of the new grace period will not be able to do their job.

According to AENA, the Spanish Airports Authority, some 500 controllers, about a quarter of the total, have either not taken the English examination, or have not reached the required standard. Some controllers have even refused to take the tests! 

So, are we who fly to and from Spain in potential danger for the next 18 months?

© Paul Whitelock

See also:

The Spanish are as bad at languages as we are

Tags:  air traffic control, qualifications in English, AENA, Spanish Airports Authority, English examination,   paul whitelock,


Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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