Aviation union appeals to president to preserve use of Estonian as flight language ({{commentsTotal}})

Pilot Aleksei Rudenko with his An-72 aircraft Source: Photo: ERR

An association of Estonian airline pilots has appealed to the head of state, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, to veto amendments to the Aviation Act and State Fees Act that would have English become the one and only language of communication between pilots and flight controllers.

They argue that the changes would not improve flight safety appreciably and would restrict the rights of pilots whose English is limited, Postimees reported.

The association, the ELA, said that there had been no incidents where use of Estonian had caused confusion or mishaps. It said exchange of information had improved overall, and that other services, such as rescue responders, would not be able to transition to solely English until several years have passed.

It also said it had not been consulted in the proceedings on the amendments in Parliament.

The Air Traffic Service has countered that there are only 62 pilots - all private pilots - who hold only a license for Estonian-language radio communications. There are 300 total pilots in the country. It originally backed making the changeover in November, but this will likely be postponed for a few months .

Editor: K. Rikken

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