Staff Reporter
AROUND 1'000 Balearic pilots will have to brush up on their English in the next three years if they want to hang on to their lucrative jobs, as part of the requirements that have been stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (OACI) in order to improve safety in the skies.

Approximately 4'000 Spanish pilots will be affected by this new request to perfect their level of English before 5 March 2008. The aim being for all pilots to adapt themselves to the demands that are being made by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. This new need for pilots and air traffic controllers working for airline companies to improve their knowledge of English “is a new demand by the OACI”, said the director general for operations at the Panamedia Pilot School at the Balearic aeronautic university campus, José Parejo Navas. “Every single pilot and air traffic controller will be tested, and those who do not pass the exams will not be able to fly and will have a suspended permit until they can prove that they have the necessary English knowledge”, he added.

Parejo Navas, a pilot with more than 20'000 flight hours under his belt and 35 years of flying experience, took part in a conference yesterday about flight security held at the Panamedia Pilot School headquarters. “This is only one basic way of improving the safety in the skies as most air traffic controllers and pilots use English during their work.

You have to remember one of the most awful commercial aviation accidents in Spain happened at the Los Rodeos Airport in Tenerife, simply because the pilot and the air traffic controller could not understand one another”, said Parejo Navas.

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