ELPAC - English Language Proficiency for Aeronautical Communication

The test of English Language Proficiency for Aeronautical Communication (ELPAC) is designed to help the Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP), Aircraft Operators (AO), National Supervisory Authorities (NSA) and Training Organisations (TO) meet the ICAO language proficiency requirements.

ELPAC was developed by EUROCONTROL, in partnership with ZHAW (the Zurich University of Applied Sciences) and ENOVATE.

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ELPAC is a test of English in aeronautical communication. It is designed for operational air traffic controllers and pilots and reflects the range of tasks undertaken in air traffic control and pilot communications.

The focus of the test is on language proficiency, not operational procedures.

ELPAC test is currently the only language proficiency test fully endorsed by ICAO. This is a testimony to the validity and integrity of ELPAC.

Addressed user needs

  • I want to improve my proficiency in aeronautical English
  • I want to learn how to use the ELPAC test, as an administrator or examiner


Language testing in aviation

Reliability and integrity are imperative for language testing in aviation. A controller or pilot who fails to demonstrate compliance with the ICAO language proficiency requirements may have their licence suspended or even withdrawn – with potentially serious implications on the professional development of the individual but also on the providers of air traffic services or the aircraft operator.

Therefore, language testing in aviation is the shared responsibility of the entire aeronautical community. That is why the providers of air traffic services and the air operators must ensure that the language proficiency tests they work with are reliable, effective and appropriate for the aviation industry and the speakers they set out to test.

Aeronautical communication is highly specific. Consequently, a language proficiency test for aviation professionals – such as air traffic controllers and pilots – should reflect the aviation context.

The ELPAC test fully meets these requirements. The fact that it is currently the only language proficiency test endorsed by ICAO in 2012 is a testimony to the validity and integrity of ELPAC.

More information about ICAO test endorsement can be found on: https://www4.icao.int/aelts.

ELPAC development team

ELPAC test development began in November 2004 following extensive feasibility studies. In February 2005 a core development team, consisting of air traffic controllers and English language experts from six countries and Eurocontrol began designing the test specifications and items/tasks in accordance with the ICAO language proficiency requirements.

EUROCONTROL is the project leader for the ELPAC project and manages the test. Technical assistance is provided by ENOVATE A.S. (Bergen, Norway), who has developed the software and technical infrastructure for the project. Linguistic expertise is provided by the ZHAW (Winterthur, Switzerland), who have developed the ELPAC level 6 test and provide support with the maintenance and on-going development of the ELPAC test. The ZHAW also provides on-going support to ELPAC training courses for ELPAC examiners and other ELPAC staff.


ELPAC is currently available to Air Navigation Service Providers, Aircraft Operators, CAAs and Training Organisations around the world.

ELPAC can support many organisations in meeting the ICAO language proficiency requirements. In particular, the implementation model of ELPAC is attractive in that it is delivered locally by operational experts and language experts from within an organisation. As a result, ELPAC can support an organisation in reaching the required standards, while at the same time fostering a culture of awareness and commitment to these standards.

Organisations intending to use ELPAC will be required to:

  • Sign a licence agreement with EUROCONTROL (respecting test security, confidentiality of data and maintaining ELPAC test standards)
  • Select qualified personnel (English language and operational aviation experts) to receive training from EUROCONTROL as test administrator, marker, assessor and interlocutor
  • Have these personnel accredited (following a one week training course)

Once these conditions are fulfilled the organisation will receive the ELPAC test and can start testing their licence holders.

ELPAC testing will be managed by selected examiners from the organisation using ELPAC.

ELPAC testing will take place at the location of the user.

More info

For more information, or to arrange a licence agreement to use the test,  please e-mail the ELPAC development team

ELPAC project manager
12 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
L-1432 Luxembourg
Tel : +352 436 061 209
Mobile : + 352 621 260 727

ID: P534
Air navigation service providers, Air traffic controllers, International and State bodies, Military, Pilots, Policy-makers, Professional associations, Regulators
Function / domain

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