In 2019, the FAA embarked on a cross-agency effort called the NOTAM Modernization initiative to make needed improvements to the NOTAM system that the aviation community uses every day for safety-critical flight information. 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 (such as by aeronautical charts, publications, or databases). NOTAMs are intended to provide information on the abnormal status of a component of the airspace system, thus helping the aviation community identify where to fly, any issues with departure/arrival airports, and other crucial aviation safety information.
The FAA's NOTAM Modernization initiative is intended to address the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 and the Pilot's Bill of Rights, as well as information received from industry stakeholders that use NOTAMs in their daily operations.
The initiative is designed to:
- Create a single technology gateway to enter, process, and retrieve all NOTAM data, making it easier for pilots, and other users of the airspace, to access safety critical information.
- Improve the presentation of NOTAM information; prioritize or highlight the most important safety information; and optimize data, technology, and processes to help pilots find and retain the most relevant information.
- Ensure U.S. NOTAMS are compliant with standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
- Align the FAA's oversight of NOTAMs, policies, and aeronautical information systems under a single FAA governing office with the authority to standardize and ensure compliance with FAA Orders and ICAO standards.
- Comply with legislative requirements set forth in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (PL 115-254) and the 2012 "Pilot's Bill of Rights" (PL 112-153).
The agency is working in coordination with the Aeronautical Information Services Reform Coalition, whose members include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), Airlines for America (A4A), Airports Council International (ACI), American Airlines, the Association of American Airport Executives (AAAE), Delta Airlines, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), JetBlue, the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.
Key Milestones of the NOTAM Modernization Initiative
- Created a single agency office for NOTAMs and aeronautical information: In November 2019, the FAA established a single governing office for NOTAMs and aeronautical information under the Aeronautical Information Services directorate within the Air Traffic Organization. This office has the authority to standardize and ensure compliance with FAA Orders and ICAO standards.
- Held the inaugural Data Optimization Summit: On November 18, 2019, the agency held a successful Data Optimization Summit for NOTAMs and aeronautical information, reaching 281 active participants, collecting 900+ responses to discussion questions, and identifying the industry's desire to standardize data available via modern application programming interfaces (APIs).
- Implemented a single access point for NOTAMs: On February 14, 2020, the agency shut down the legacy PilotWeb website for retrieving NOTAMs, reducing the number of places pilots need to look to find NOTAMs. There is now a single FAA website providing a human interface for NOTAM information: NOTAM Search. Pilots can use NOTAM Search to access all NOTAMs.
- Discontinued the Notice to Airmen Publication (NTAP): On June 18, 2020, the agency discontinued the Notices to Airmen Publication (NTAP), further reducing the number of places pilots need to look to find NOTAM information. Pilots can access information previously provided in the NTAP through the Domestic Notice and International Notices webpages.
- Removed numerous "PERM" NOTAMs from the system: To date, the agency has reviewed and removed over 600 "PERM" NOTAMs from the system and made necessary updates to charts, maps, and other publications, reducing the number of NOTAMs pilots need to review during pre-flight briefings. The agency has also made several changes to internal procedures, including coordination, outreach, and automated reporting, that improve the process by which PERM NOTAMs are managed and canceled.
- Shortened publication cycles for VFR charts: In February 2021, the FAA aligned all Sectional Aeronautical Charts, VFR Terminal Area Charts (TACs), VFR Flyway Planning Charts, and Helicopter Route Charts to publish on 56-day cycles, versus the former publication cycles of 168 days to two years. This change will result in the further reduction of chart-related NOTAMs, as new information can be added to charts more frequently.
- Complete the implementation of a single machine interface for NOTAMs: In July 2021, the FAA plans to complete the migration of NOTAM data consumers from the legacy Aeronautical Integrated Data Access Portal (AIDAP) data feed to the NOTAM Distribution Service (NDS), available to the public via the System-Wide Information Management (SWIM) gateway and the SWIM Cloud Distribution Service (SCDS).
- Finalize an update to Airport Circular 150/5200-28, "Notice to Airmen for Airport Operators": In September 2021, the FAA plans to complete an update to AC 150/5200-28 to provide enhanced guidance on using the NOTAM system for reporting airport facilities changes or outages. The Advisory Circular also aims to provide information to airport operators on the process and means to cancel a PERM NOTAM.
- Implement an application programming interface (API) for NOTAM data: In September 2021, the FAA plans to launch an application programming interface (API) for NOTAM data, a modern, lightweight interface to help improve data access. Developed in collaboration with NASA, the API will provide quick and easy access to NOTAM data, support ease of data integration, provide query and filter capability, and produce NOTAMs in three different formats.
- Provide updated ICAO formatting for certain domestic NOTAMs (ICAO Phase 1): In March 2022, ICAO-formatted NOTAMs will be provided as an additional set of information for only those NOTAMs created in the digital AIXM format (˜70% of NOTAMs). This will help familiarize NOTAM consumers with the ICAO format in advance of the agency's planned implementation of the full ICAO format for all NOTAMs. The current domestic FAA NOTAM format will remain the official format until the agency's NOTAM policy is updated and the full ICAO format is implemented.
- Implement the Takeoff and Landing Performance Assessment (TALPA) enhancement to the Federal NOTAM System (FNS): Also targeted for March 2022, this enhancement to the Federal NOTAM System will improve how airport field conditions are reported in the NOTAM system. For instance, by reducing the need to issue two field condition (or FICON) NOTAMs for the same runway, and by preventing FICON NOTAMs from being issued on closed runways, this automation enhancement will help reduce the number of NOTAMs pilots need to review during pre-flight briefings.
- Complete the migration to a single NOTAM system: In August 2023, the agency plans to complete the migration of NOTAM system functionality from legacy U.S. NOTAM System (USNS) software to the Federal NOTAM System (FNS) environment. In parallel, the agency is moving FNS to a more robust operating environment, enhancing system reliability and resiliency to outages. The retirement of USNS and the migration of FNS to the new operating environment are important prerequisites to the implementation of further system enhancements.
- Publish and implement an ICAO-compliant NOTAM policy order (ICAO Phase 2): Targeted for December 2024, this will align the agency with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards for NOTAMs. As part of this effort, the Federal NOTAM System (FNS) will be updated to publish all NOTAMs in ICAO format. Once implemented, the agency will have a single NOTAM repository with searching, sorting, archiving, and filtering capabilities, and with single machine-readable and human-readable interfaces. For more information on this transition, please visit the FAA's NOTAM ICAO website (coming soon).
For Aeronautical Integrated Data Access Portal (AIDAP) Users:
In July 2020, the SWIM Cloud Distribution Services (SCDS) will replace AIDAP. All AIDAP users must begin the transition process to SWIM SCDS as soon as possible. Before you begin your transition: