Effective communication is an essential element of flight safety. Pilots who are in command of the aircraft communicate with the air traffic controller via radio communication. So, they have to communicate verbally, and the skills of oral communication become more important.
The process of communication is not only restricted between the pilots and air traffic controllers. It also involves many other Aviation Professionals such as cabin crew, security officers, ground crew, baggage handlers, ramp workers, and others.
Therefore, a huge responsibility lies on an aviation professional’s shoulders to improve interpersonal and group communication for effective operations of flights.
The essential need to undertake the communication process is to reduce the risks for accidents and ensure passengers’ safety. In the past, many accidents occurred because of miscommunication.
Some fatal plane crashes happened due to communication gaps. In one reported instance of the past, pilots established communication with ATC and conveyed to ATC that the aircraft is running out of fuel.
He should have signalled ‘Mayday,’ a word mostly prescribed to declare an emergency. The air traffic controller failed to interpret this situation, and he took the matter of low fuel supply lightly. Eventually, the flight crashed due to an insufficient fuel supply.
Following such a crash, developed and advanced nations formed civil aviation and federal regulators to address the challenges and hurdles in the path of effective communication.
There are some communication barriers in the Aviation industry, which results in a misunderstanding between the Aviation professionals.
In aviation, there is an excess of information. In a single period, you have to deal with multiple fronts. So, the scope of communication is broad, and our mind has to process colossal information. Due to such large-scale details, the chances of committing an error increase. It is difficult for our minds to remember every line of communication with each department. So, we become prone to mistakes.
Non-English speakers find it difficult sometimes to understand the language, and they pass on information with ambiguity. In Aviation, people hail from different backgrounds, so they use different accents. It’s not easy to understand all of the accents.
There are more chances for errors because of general misunderstanding between Aviation professionals. Some people speak faster than others or use more pauses in statements. Such widespread misconception is common in both Natives and Non-English speakers.
Improving communication in Aviation:
To reduce the communication gaps, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has declared English as the official language in Aviation. This decision of ICAO ensures the provision of a safe and efficient environment for the passengers. All civil and other aviation staff who don’t speak English with fluency are bound to pass a language proficiency test to acquire a professional licence.
This step strengthens their communication skills and improves the overall safety of airline operations. Stringent rules are now in place to avoid any miscommunication that could ultimately result in a fatal disaster.
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