Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1185 of 20 July 2016 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 923/2012 as regards the update and completion of the common rules of the air and operational provisions regarding services and procedures in air navigation (SERA Part C) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 730/2006, states in point SERA.14015 Language to be used in air-ground communication the following:

  • SERA.14015 Language to be used in air-ground communication
    1. The air-ground radiotelephony communications shall be conducted in the English language or in the language normally used by the station on the ground.
    2. The English language shall be available, on request of any aircraft, at all stations on the ground serving designated aerodromes and routes used by international air services. Unless otherwise prescribed by the competent authority for specific cases, the English language shall be used for communications between the ATS unit and aircraft, at aerodromes with more than 50 000 international IFR movements per year. Member States, where at the date of entry into force of this Regulation, the English language is not the only language used for communications between the ATS unit and aircraft at such aerodromes, may decide not to apply the requirement to use the English language and inform the Commission accordingly. In that case, those Member States shall, by 31 December 2017 at the latest, conduct a study on the possibility to require the use of the English language for communications between the ATS unit and aircraft at those aerodromes for reasons of safety, so as to avoid incursions of aircraft on an occupied runway or other safety risks, while taking into account the applicable provisions of Union and national law on the use of languages. They shall make that study public and communicate its conclusions to the Agency and the Commission.
    3. The languages available at a given station on the ground shall form part of the Aeronautical Information Publications and other published aeronautical information concerning such facilities.

    AMC1 SERA.14015 Language to be used in air-ground communication.

    • The competent authority should only prescribe other conditions for the use of English language at aerodromes with more than 50 000 international IFR movements per year for specific cases, based on an individual assessment of the local arrangements. In any case, deviation from the requirement should be limited to exceptional cases and should be accompanied with a safety assessment.

      In States which decide not to apply the requirement to use the English language, the study referred to in SERA.14015 should include an independent and comprehensive assessment of the impact of not using English for air-ground radio communications. Such an assessment should in particular take into account:

      1. Any available accident and incident investigation reports at least at EU level, where the use of language has been identified as a contributing factor. For this purpose, the central repository created in accordance with Commission Regulations (EC) Nos 1321/2007 and 996/2010 for such reports should also be consulted.
      2. The proportion of pilots frequenting that airport, with English language proficiency endorsement.
      3. The proportion of pilots frequenting that airport, lacking language proficiency endorsement in the alternative language to be used.
      4. A consultation of flight crews operating at the airport in question, on their preferences and ability to use the languages in question.
      5. A consultation of the safety investigation authority.

    The Spanish airports that currently are under the criteria established in SERA 14015 b) are the following:

    • Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas (LEMD)
    • Barcelona/El Prat (LEBL)
    • Palma de Mallorca (LEPA/LESJ)
    • Málaga/Costa del Sol (LEMG)
    • Alicante-Elche (LEAL)
    • Tenerife Sur/Reina Sofía (GCTS)
    • Gran Canaria (GCLP)

Spain is conducting the study referred to in point SERA 14015 b).

Questionnaire for flight crews

As part of the study referred to in the second paragraph of AMC 1 SERA 14015, an online survey has been organized, addressed to flight crews that have flown to/ from at least one of the referred airports at least once in the last 12 months.

So we invite such flight crews, commercial pilots as well as private pilots to participate filling the questionnaire, available for a period of 20 calendar days after its publication in the web, at the following link:

Confidentiality of data

Data facilitated through the questionnaire will be dealt with confidentiality by Dirección General de Aviación Civil (General Directorate for Civil Aviation), sited at Paseo de la Castellana, 67, 28071 Madrid, being the only purpose of their gathering to incorporate unidentified aggregated information in the study required by SERA 14015 b). This is information is given in regard to article 5 of Ley Orgánica 15/1999, de 13 de diciembre, de Protección de Datos de Carácter Personal (Organic Law 15/1999 of 13 December, on Personal Data Protection).

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