The NOTAM system: A global campaign for improvement

News has been received in recent weeks that the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) has drawn the attention of its members to the history behind the NOTAM (Notice To Airmen) system which is nearly as long as commercial aviation itself.

In a message to Members the Federation indicated that the burden of this history is clear in pilots’ daily pre-flight information bulletins. There have been numerous efforts through the years to improve the system, but none have been successful. This year will be different. IFALPA is an active contributor to ICAO’s Information Management Panel and the work of the Panel and its sub-groups will now bring the first concrete step of improvement to the NOTAM system, it is reported.

The first target of the process is quantity. There is a need to reduce the amount of valid NOTAMs. Globally, the volume of NOTAMs published has increased from 250k in 2000 to 1.7 million in 2020. One of the main issues is that too many of these NOTAMs remain published past their recommended duration of 90 days. Roughly 20% of all active NOTAMs in 2020 were older than 90 days.