By Lucy Jordan, Contributing Reporter

BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – Almost forty Brazilian pilots who fly internationally must retake English proficiency tests, Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil, or ANAC) ordered on Friday, citing suspicions that they are not as fluent in the language as they claim to be.

Brazilian Pilots Retake English Exams, Brazil News
Some TAM pilots are amongst those who will have to retake English proficiency tests, Folha reported, photo by Mark Harkin/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

Folha reported that the agency said the 37 pilots had received certificates of English language proficiency from Spain’s Flight Crew Training Academy.

ANAC became suspicious about the rigor of that organization’s testing standards after noticing that many pilots went to the Madrid language school after failing tests in Brazil.

Testing is mandatory, ANAC said, because a good command of English is crucial to passenger safety on international flights, as poor communication can cause errors that may lead to accidents.

In May, ANAC sent inspectors to visit the Madrid school, and established that the institution’s standards were inadequate.

According to Folha, the inspectors’ report stated that “the goal of proficiency test applied by the center assessor … is not in compliance” with international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Folha reported that a lawyer close to the case had told that newspaper the number of pilots affected may, in fact, be as high as 94.

Most of the affected pilots fly for TAM, the Brazilian airline that carries the most international flights from Brazil, reported Folha, while others work for Gol and some executive aviation companies.

The pilots have until December 15th to take another English exam; otherwise they will lose their authorization to fly outside Brazilian territory.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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