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India sends home pilots due to 'bad English'

Ben Longden

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The AGE 18.2


India has sent home at least 20 foreign pilots flying for its airlines in the past year as their poor English posed safety concerns, the country's civil aviation regulator said Thursday.


English is used by India's hard-pressed air traffic controllers, who are struggling to make sense of crowded skies following a surge in new airlines in the last few years.


Rapid growth has led to carriers hiring hundreds of foreign pilots -- including from Central Asia and Eastern Europe.


"There have been cases where pilots have been sent back as their English proficiency was not up to the mark," Kanu Gohain, Director General of Civil Aviation, told reporters.


"Around 20-25 have been sent back, mainly from CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) nations and eastern Europe."


Several near misses have been reported in recent months as planes competed to land at overstretched big city airports.


Newspapers and television channels have said poor communication between foreign pilots and air traffic controllers is often to blame.


Passenger traffic is expected to grow at 19 percent a year up to 2009 and the country's domestic airlines will need more than 400 new planes in the next five years to meet growth.





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