The history behind the NOTAM system is nearly as long as commercial aviation itself. The burden of this history is clear in our daily preflight 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 subgroups will now bring the first concrete step of improvement to the NOTAM system.
The first target of the process is quantity. We 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.
After collaboration with several stakeholders, IFALPA sent out a letter to the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) community to raise awareness about NOTAM concerns. IFALPA Member Associations took the letter to local AIS offices to discuss the issue and now, on 8 April, ICAO is taking further measures to address the issue by launching a Global campaign on NOTAM improvement.
The first step following IFALPA’s initiative is to eliminate old NOTAMs. The campaign will have ICAO working with its seven regional offices and its member states to find solutions to tackle this problem.
Pilots can easily list several ways the NOTAM could be improved; filtering, sorting, abbreviations, LETTER CASE, to name a few. These issues are well known in the ICAO working groups and they are working to fix them. IFALPA is involved in the process and our voice is being heard and respected. The work continues and it is off to a promising start.
Registration for ICAO’s webinar to launch the campaign is open. We invite pilots to register and join the event to see and hear how ICAO is working with IFALPA, IFAIMA, and OPS-group to improve one of the oldest and most persistent information management issues of modern aviation.
Please circulate & forward this information widely within your Member Associations, pilot mailing lists, and on your social media channels. Help us spread the word!