President Joe Biden signed H.R. 346 on June 3, 2023, a bipartisan law designed to update the FAA‘s Notice to Air Mission (NOTAM) system.
The legislation comes after the NOTAM system crashed in January 2023, grounding domestic flights across the United States.
The NOTAM crash raised questions about the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation modernization, known as NextGen, and how long it is taking to implement that modernization.
In a February 2023 Senate hearing, FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen reported that the agency is about halfway through the modernization of the NOTAM system. Part of that modernization is transitioning the system to standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The modernization is also expected to improved accuracy and accessibility for pilots, according to FAA officials.
The modernization efforts are expected to be done by mid-2025, according to Nolen’s testimony during the Senate hearing.
The new law requires the FAA to set up a task force made up of all representatives of the aviation industry, including general aviation. Its mission:
- Review existing methods for publishing NOTAMs and flight operations information for pilots
- Review regulations, policies, systems, and international standards relating to NOTAMs, including their content and presentation to pilots
- Evaluate and determine best practices to organize, prioritize, and present flight operations information in a manner that optimizes pilot review and retention of relevant information
- Provide recommendations to improve the publication and delivery of NOTAM information
The FAA also is required to implement a back-up system by Sept. 30, 2024, as well as brief Congress on its plan to improve the NOTAM system.