HT
Topic Author
Posts: 5857
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 6:20 am

ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Thu Jul 14, 2005 6:04 am

Inspired by thread 38657 in "Site related" the following question came to my mind:

Which language is used in Air Traffic Control in P.R. of China (excluding Hong Kong for this) when dealing with native crews on airliners ?
IIRC at Hong Kong-Kai Tak there used to be different tower frequencies for English and Chinese (but was it Cantonese or Mandarin ? ).
-HT
Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
 
User avatar
legacyins
Posts: 1836
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2003 1:11 pm

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:49 am

I just returned on United 888, PEK-SFO, last week and had channel 9 on all the way across the Pacific. ATC China use bothe the English language and Chinese( Mandarin) when aircraft are within their airspace. If the crew of a Chinses airliner spoke to ATC in Mandarin, ACT would respond back in Mandarin. As you can imagine, it was all English with my flight.
 
777klm
Posts: 493
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 am

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:52 am

An is the Russian ATC english only, or Russian as well (with native crews)?!
Next flight: AMS - TLV - AMS
 
CX Flyboy
Posts: 6056
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 1999 6:10 pm

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:11 pm

Mandarin is spoken to the Chinese carriers when flying in china. English is of course used to speak to non-local carriers in their airspace.

However, I believe that the authorities have made it mandatory for ALL carriers to speak english when operating into Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou airports.

Hong Kong and Macau, are of course english only.
 
N754PR
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 1999 10:03 pm

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:11 pm

There are a few Chinese crews around these days that use English when talking to ATC in China... Heard it on my scanner from Hong Kong.
Bush, your a sad, sad man.
 
EK156
Posts: 646
Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 8:01 pm

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Thu Jul 14, 2005 3:36 pm

In Dubai when the ATC is an Arab and the airline is from an Arabic country they only greet each other in arabic but all formal ATC instructions are in English.

Come to think of it, it is very difficult for an ATC to use the arabic language to direct traffic. English is much easier.
 
nycflyer
Posts: 1288
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:23 am

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Thu Jul 14, 2005 4:11 pm

Quoting EK156 (Reply 5):
Come to think of it, it is very difficult for an ATC to use the arabic language to direct traffic. English is much easier.

Just curious, why do you say this? I've been taking Arabic for the last two years, and this would never have occured to me.
 
dogfighter2111
Posts: 1867
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:02 am

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Thu Jul 14, 2005 4:52 pm

Don't you have to know how to speak English to be an ATC'er in any Country?

Thanks
Mike
 
RDUDDJI
Posts: 1717
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 4:42 am

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Thu Jul 14, 2005 6:07 pm

In Russia (at least over Siberia) they speak English to English speaking crews and Russian to Russian ones. They also sound like they are on a speaker phone...
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
10mid
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 5:15 am

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:29 am

In Mexico ATC speaks Spanish to the crews of planes from Spanish-speaking countries. Once I also heard Houston Center hand a Mexican aircraft off to Monetrrey Center in Spanish.
 
gg190
Posts: 158
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 7:25 am

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:31 am

Don't know if it still the case but French ATC used to speak French to French pilots, and English to others. I think this might have been outlawed when pilot was killed at CDG in an accident.

A shorts 330 (or 360?) was cleared for take-off on one end of the runway, while and Air Liberte (?) aircraft was cleared for take-off from the other end of the same runway. ATC gave the Air Liberte pilot insruction in French, and as result the captain of the shorts did not know that the aircraft had been cleared for take-off on the same runway as him, and he sadly lost his life when the 2 planes collided.

One danger of not using the same language for all ATC instructions. I think Dubai have it right, greet the pilot in your own language, but give all instructions in English.
 
JetHost
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 2:02 am

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:53 am

Quoting Gg190 (Reply 10):
Don't know if it still the case but French ATC used to speak French to French pilots, and English to others. I think this might have been outlawed when pilot was killed at CDG in an accident.

A shorts 330 (or 360?) was cleared for take-off on one end of the runway, while and Air Liberte (?) aircraft was cleared for take-off from the other end of the same runway. ATC gave the Air Liberte pilot insruction in French, and as result the captain of the shorts did not know that the aircraft had been cleared for take-off on the same runway as him, and he sadly lost his life when the 2 planes collided.

One danger of not using the same language for all ATC instructions. I think Dubai have it right, greet the pilot in your own language, but give all instructions in English.

I remember watching this on a tv program, very tragic loss.
Thanks, Philip :)
 
imatams
Posts: 312
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 8:42 pm

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:26 am

This thread reminds me of one of the 'classic' aviation jokes on the net:

A Lufthansa flight is approaching Frankfurt and concacts Frankfurt Radar. He starts speaking in german, until the controller cuts him of and tells him that regulations require he speaks English. The pilot gets mad, saying: 'I'm a german, flying for a german carrier, talking to a german at a german airport. Why the hell should I talk English?'
Then an anonimous, but VERY british voice is heared saying:
'Because you lost the bloody WAR!'.....
 
flyKiWi
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 9:30 pm

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 3:14 am

Quoting Gg190 (Reply 10):
Don't know if it still the case but French ATC used to speak French to French pilots, and English to others.

Eh... yeah this still happens... MALEV crews usually baffled in french airspace  Smile
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" -Gandhi
 
N1120A
Posts: 26468
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:40 pm

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 3:27 am

Quoting Dogfighter2111 (Reply 7):
Don't you have to know how to speak English to be an ATC'er in any Country?

Yes

Quoting Gg190 (Reply 10):
Don't know if it still the case but French ATC used to speak French to French pilots, and English to others. I think this might have been outlawed when pilot was killed at CDG in an accident.

French pilots and ATC are still allowed to communicate in French, but they are not allowed to use the ultra-quick, essential commands they used to as they were found too confusing for other pilots.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
Morvious
Posts: 637
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 8:36 pm

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:02 am

I think the rules must be the same all over the world.
Flying is going more international all over the world, more airports are handling more international traffic.. Don't we need one language?

Saying hello to a Pilot in your own language is OK, but lets do the rest in english.

A little virtual example.

I love flightsimulator fs2004, and Ill play it online on the network.
Last I flew to Rome. On my TCAS display I saw outbound traffic from Rome, and it was on my route. I heard ATC speaking to him in his own Italien language, I could hear him using my callsign (DAL070), but I didn't had a clue what he told him, what the plane was doing and where he was going.

If the ATC had said it in English, I could hear if the plane didn't get orders that could be dangerous for both of us, SO I could jump in between.

Point I am saying.
All people can make mistakes, ATC's and Pilots to. If an ATC or Pilot make one, but he is saying it in a language you don't understand, you can't react to it. As A pilot you want to know what the plane in front of you is doing (I hope). Thinking a few steps ahead, instead of following it.
have a good day, Stefan van Hierden
 
User avatar
lightsaber
Crew
Posts: 12020
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:55 pm

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:26 am

Quoting Morvious (Reply 15):
Don't we need one language?

Yes, ICAO met and standardized in 1942 on English.

Quoting IMatAMS (Reply 12):
'Because you lost the bloody WAR!'.....

As bad as the joke is, its true. Think about 1942 when the ICAO meeting was held in the US and air travel rules were standardized. When the language subject came up, who was at the table? Viche France was technically at war with the US so they and there Colonies would have been denied access to the country and thus no vote. German? At war with the US. Japan? At war with the US. Who else? Please remember the votes went by aircraft production! So the big producers at the table were the USA, Britain, Canada, and then the smaller aircraft producers: Australia, South Africa, and some British colonies assembling kit aircraft. Everyone said "Thank you Canada for the idea of two languages, we're voting for English." During and after the war, the US air corps set up the air traffic control systems in Africa, across the Pacific, and Eventually into Europe (with British help, of course). And remember there wasn't exactly much notice before the meeting. If you weren't in Los Angeles buying aircraft (or elsewhere on the West Coast), you probably didn't have a representative at the meeting.

Quoting Gg190 (Reply 10):
I think Dubai have it right, greet the pilot in your own language, but give all instructions in English.

Sounds appropriate and I hope English speaking pilots learn the proper greetings for their common destinations.

Lightsaber
"They did not know it was impossible, so they did it!" - Mark Twain
 
PADSpot
Posts: 1637
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2005 11:31 pm

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:55 am

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 16):


Quoting IMatAMS,reply=12:
'Because you lost the bloody WAR!'...

As bad as the joke is, its true.

Lol ...Lightsaber, I think his joke more relates to the cordial relationship between the Dutch and the German people. It was a more a joke for insiders. Usually we respond to these kinda jokes with a neat song about the outstanding performance of the dutch soccer national team in the forefront of the last soccer world cup. But I forbear from this here, because deep in our European souls we like each other .

Fortunatly Germany lost the war, but English would have became the ATC language in any case, because it is also the lingua franca in most other domains beside aviation. E.g on the internet English has became the standard language without that somebody formally agreed on it ...

[Edited 2005-07-14 23:58:24]
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:25 am

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 7:56 am

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 16):
Quoting Morvious (Reply 15):
Don't we need one language?

Yes, ICAO met and standardized in 1942 on English.

This is wrong. Official ICAO languages are English, French, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Arabic and Russian. Any of these languages can be used for ATC purposes. Since this is the result of the Chicago convention of 1944, Germany, Italy and Japan were obviously not invited. Additionally all countries can use their own language as long as there will be not missunderstandings. E.g. in Germany you can get a purely German language aviation radio licence, which only permits you to operate your aircraft outside controlled airspace. To fly into controlled airspace you'll need a higher level radio licence, which includes both German and English.

Lufthansa procedures are in English language, even between native German Lufthansa pilots and mechanics. Also since the late 1990s all maintenance task cards and documents are in English language. Before LH used to have the problem to have to translate everything into English if they wanted to sell an aircraft (I did my apprenticeship right during the transitional period).

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13807
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 8:09 am

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 16):
Everyone said "Thank you Canada for the idea of two languages, we're voting for English."

If only the IOC had said the same thing. English and the host country language are enough. I'm an English and French speaker, and I don't see the point of repeating everything in French at the Olympics other than it sounding pretty.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
HKGKaiTak
Posts: 971
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 9:48 am

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 10:38 am

Going slightly OT here . . .

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 19):
If only the IOC had said the same thing. English and the host country language are enough. I'm an English and French speaker, and I don't see the point of repeating everything in French at the Olympics other than it sounding pretty.

It's actually French first then English second at the Olympics. This caused a furore at the Sydney games when the appointed announcer, SBS TV's news anchor, Mary Kostakidis, fluent in both languages, refused to announce French first English second . . . the Olympics announcer post went to someone else who would comply.

Back onto aviation, are the cockpit warnings available in other languages or are they in English only? (Remember the Chinese MD82 crew who wondered what "pull up" meant shortly before crashing?)
4 Engines 4 LongHaul
 
User avatar
HAWK21M
Posts: 29917
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2001 10:05 pm

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 3:34 pm

Out Here too.The only local language is a greeting "NAMASHKAR" The rest of the Conversation is in English.
I think by having a common language understood by all,the chances of something going wrong is avoided.
Listening watch is a part of flying too.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
10mid
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 5:15 am

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:33 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 21):
The only local language is a greeting "NAMASHKAR"

BTW, what is the difference between Namashkar and Namaste?
 
antiuser
Posts: 646
Joined: Thu May 27, 2004 9:43 am

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Sat Jul 16, 2005 2:15 pm

In Brazil, most national crews speak to ATC in Portuguese. Sometimes you'll even hear an AR, PZ or PU crew speaking to ATC in "Portuñol".
I even heard a FX pilot talk to CWB ATC in Portuguese once, but he got confused and switched back to English.
Azzurri Campioni del Mondo!
 
User avatar
HAWK21M
Posts: 29917
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2001 10:05 pm

RE: ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?

Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:19 pm

Quoting Antiuser (Reply 23):
In Brazil, most national crews speak to ATC in Portuguese

Out here a Few Braziallian Pilots fly for BDA/DHL & their English accent is quite tough to interpret for some locals  Smile

Quoting 10MID (Reply 22):
BTW, what is the difference between Namashkar and Namaste

The Same.But the Former sounds better  bigthumbsup 
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos