FAQ n.19196

Are there any requirements relating to the ability of CC to communicate with passengers in a certain language? Example: An air operator with an Irish AOC is operating with a full crew from, say Thailand. They would fulfil the requirement for a common language, and the flight crew would have to undergo licence validation/conversion in Ireland thereby also demonstrating their ability to communicate in English. Will the CC have to communicate in English to get their attestation?

Answer

Reference: Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 on Air Operations, Annexes III (Part-ORO) and IV (Part-CAT)

The only requirements for languages relevant to CC are specified in the Air Operations Regulation ((EU) No 965/2012) as follows:

  • all personnel shall be able to understand the language of the OM relevant to their duties (ORO.MLR.100(k)), and
  • all FC and CC members shall be able to communicate in a common language (CAT.GEN.MPA.120).

Common practice is nevertheless that cabin crew speak the language of the State of the operator, and English as this is usually required by the operators.

There is actually no language requirement for cabin crew regarding communication with passengers. This issue is now on the task list of the ICAO Cabin safety Group, as it was considered more consistent to be addressed at worldwide level, taking into account any relevant Safety Recommendations resulting from accident or incident investigations.

It should be noted that it is difficult, if not impossible, to identify which languages, other than the language of the operator and English, should be required.

For example, a French airline may have a flight departing from Paris to Madrid (CC would then speak French and English as normally required by operators), but most passengers could be a group of Japanese.

In this global sector, it is very difficult to anticipate which languages will be necessary depending on the nationality of the passengers to be carried, which may change for each flight. It could also be different from the language of the country of departure, as well as from the country of destination.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of each operator to ensure that safety briefing / instructions can be given in a way that will ensure general understanding by passengers and will allow cabin crew to be understood when applying safety and emergency procedures.

Last updated: 
18/09/2014

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