English is the official language of air travel, thanks to the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization. As of 2008, pilots and air traffic controllers are required to speak English, no matter what part of the world they are in. Since hundreds of lives have been lost in crashes attributed to communication problems between pilots and air traffic controllers or pilots and other pilots, it was determined that they all speak one standard language.
For example: 349 passengers died in a midair collision when a Saudi pilot and an Uzbek pilot failed to understand each other. 159 passengers on an American Airlines flight died when the pilot couldn’t understand an air traffic controller in Colombia.