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Fri, May 26, 2023

NBAA Extols Passage of NOTAM Improvement Act

Now Begins the Work

Founded in 1947 to foster the prosperity of business aviation in the United States and worldwide, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), on 23 May 2023, applauded Congressional passage of the NOTAM Improvement Act of 2023—legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (Republican, West Virginia), Amy Klobuchar (Democrat, Minnesota), and Jerry Moran (Republican, Kansas) for purpose of preventing future shutdown of the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS) by, in part, directing the Federal Aviation Administration to improve the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAMs) system.

The bill now heads to Joe Biden’s desk.

NBAA-backed verbiage in the bill calls for the FAA to implement a new Federal NOTAM System (FNS)—to include an accompanying backup system by which to mitigate the impact of future outages of the primary system—by no later than 30 September 2024.

NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen stated: “This vital legislation will ensure the NOTAM system operates with the most up-to-date technology available to make it more resilient and create a safer National Airspace System (NAS) for all operators.”

Mr. Bolen added: “We thank all those who supported this bill, including House sponsors Representative Pete Stauber (Republican, Minnesota) and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (Democrat, California) as well as Senate sponsor Senator Amy Klobuchar (Democrat, Minnesota) and co-sponsors Senators Jerry Moran (Republican, Kansas) and Shelley Moore Caputo (Republican, West Virginia).”

NOTAMs provide real-time information pertaining to the U.S. National Airspace System—information by which pilots and flight departments ensure flights are conducted safely. In January 2023, a breakdown of the NOTAM dissemination system compelled the FAA to enact a nationwide ground stop during which all U.S. commercial flight operations were suspended pending rectification of the anomaly.

Also included in the final bill is an NBAA-supported amendment acknowledging a longstanding industry coalition’s efforts to overhaul NOTAM content for purpose of up-prioritizing safety-critical data. Subject group—led by NBAA senior director of air traffic services and infrastructure Heidi Williams, and composed of individuals representing general aviation, commercial airline, ATC, and regulatory stakeholders—submitted its recommendations to the FAA in 2020.

The FAA subsequently commenced modernizing the NOTAM compilation process, to include acting on a coalition recommendation calling for the formation of an Aeronautical Information Systems Office within the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization. The office is to serve as a centralized resource to which aircraft operators may address questions germane to the National Airspace System and operations within such.

The FAA defines NOTAM thus:

  • A NOTAM is a notice containing information essential to personnel concerned with flight operations but not known far enough in advance to be publicized by other means. It states the abnormal status of a component of the National Airspace System (NAS) – not the normal status.
  • NOTAMs indicate the real-time and abnormal status of the NAS impacting every user.
  • NOTAMs concern the establishment, condition, or change of any facility, service, procedure or hazard in the NAS.
  • NOTAMs have a unique language using special contractions to make communication more efficient.


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