Legislation from U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to help prevent system outages at the Federal Aviation Administration passed the Senate Commerce Committee last week.
The NOTAM Improvement Act would require the FAA to establish a task force to improve NOTAM, which alerts pilots of safety and location hazards on flight routes. The bill would increase the system’s resiliency and cybersecurity, officials said. The senators proposed the legislation following a NOTAM system outage in January that grounded flights across the country.
“Travelers in the United States deserve safe and dependable air travel service, not nationwide ground stops caused by system failures like we saw earlier this year. That’s why as co-chair of the Senate Travel and Tourism Caucus, I’m focused on strengthening our air travel infrastructure,” Klobuchar said. “By upgrading and modernizing the FAA’s NOTAM system, our bipartisan legislation would improve aviation safety and prevent system outages from derailing travel.”
Companion legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN) passed the House of Representatives in January with a vote of 424-4.
Specifically, the legislation would require the task force to be composed of representatives from air carriers, airports, and unions representing pilots, dispatchers, and FAA personnel, as well as aviation safety and cybersecurity experts. The task force would be required to review existing methods for presenting information to pilots; review regulations and policies relating to NOTAMs; evaluate and determine best practices in regard to presenting flight operations information; provide recommendations; and report to Congress its findings.
“The complete failure of the FAA’s NOTAM system stranded millions of Americans and was a warning of the need to strengthen and modernize our air travel system,” Moran said. “The FAA has a responsibility to make certain air travel in our country is as safe and efficient as possible. Moving this legislation forward is an important step to help meet the demands of 21st-century travel and prevent a similar failure in the future.”