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Tue, May 23, 2023

Capito’s NOTAM Legislation Passes U.S. Senate

Act to Prevent Future FAA System Outages

The NOTAM Improvement Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (Republican, West Virginia), Amy Klobuchar (Democrat, Minnesota), and Jerry Moran (Republican, Kansas) has passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent.

Senator Capito, who’s also a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, introduced the NOTAM Improvement Act in January 2023 for purpose of helping prevent future Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system outages. The legislation, if ratified, would require the FAA to establish a task force charged with modernizing and bolstering the resiliency and cybersecurity of the digital, electronic, and network architectures by which Notices To Airmen (alternately, Air Missions) are disseminated to users of the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS).

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.

Speaking to the subject of the NOTAM Improvement Act, Senator Capito set forth: “The system failure that grounded all flights in January [2023] cannot happen again. The bipartisan NOTAM Improvement Act creates a taskforce of experts to develop specific improvements for this critical system, and I’m glad to see it pass the U.S. Senate. I encourage the House to quickly pass this amended version and send it to the president’s desk, so we can prevent similar outages in the future.”

The FAA task force occasioned by the promulgation of the NOTAM Improvement Act task force would comprise representatives of air-carriers, airports, airline pilot, aircraft dispatcher, and FAA personnel unions, as well as aviation safety and cybersecurity experts.

Representative Pete Stauber (Republican, Minnesota), who previously introduced legislation to improve the NOTAM system, introduced similar legislation that passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 424-4 on 25 January 2023.



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