Global campaign on NOTAM improvement (NOTAM2021)

On any given day, there are some 35,000 active NOTAM circulating in the global air transport system. In 2020, the total number of NOTAM issued exceeded 1.7 million. 


Yearly totals such as this have increased steadily over the years, on average by more than 100,000 annually. Due to the COVID pandemic, however, the total number of NOTAM decreased by five percent in 2020, the first decrease in over 10 years (Source: Eurocontrol, International NOTAM statistics 2000-2020). 


It is not uncommon for a pre-flight briefing package supporting a long-haul international flight to contain more than 100 pages of NOTAM information. Findings have shown that twenty percent of these will be old NOTAM, exceeding their three-month applicability period. 


On 8 April 2021 at 12:00 UTC, ICAO launched a new Global Campaign on NOTAM Improvement (NOTAM2021) by kicking off Phase 1 on old NOTAM with a webinar in collaboration with its seven regional offices. The objective is the significant reduction in the number of old NOTAM still in circulation. 


Additional webinars will be conducted on a bi-monthly basis to monitor progress and share experiences and lessons learned. The overall schedule for all of these sessions will be as follows: 

Kick-off webinar:  08 April 2021
Progress webinars: 16 June 2021
      31 Aug 2021 CANCELLED
      28 Oct 2021

      15 Dec 2021


All webinars will be conducted at 12:00 UTC to optimize global participation.

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Throughout the NOTAM2021 campaign, participants can monitor the NOTAMeter, a web-based software tool for analysing NOTAM. To support the campaign’s objective, the NOTAMeter distinguishes between current NOTAM, i.e. less than three months duration, old NOTAM, i.e. those exceeding three months but less than one year, and very old NOTAM, i.e. those NOTAM exceeding one year duration. 
For example, on 01 December 2020, out of over 37,000 active NOTAM in the system, there were more than ten percent old NOTAM and nine percent very old NOTAM; a total of 7,079 NOTAM. 

Seven thousand times on that day alone, the information was outdated or should have been published differently using one of the available aeronautical information products! 
For detailed NOTAM age analyses, please see the NOTAMeter which can be accessed here

What do the regulations say? 


Annex 15 - Aeronautical Information Services defines the NOTAM as “a notice distributed by means of telecommunication containing information concerning the establishment, condition or change in any aeronautical facility, service, procedure or hazard, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations”. The Annex states that “a NOTAM shall be originated and issued promptly whenever the information to be distributed is of a temporary nature and of short duration” (6.3.2.2) whereas “temporary changes of long duration (three months or longer) … shall be published as AIP Supplements” (6.3.1.3). 

The Procedures for Air Navigation Services - Aeronautical Information Management (PANS-AIM, Doc 10066) elaborates that “within three months from the issuing of a temporary NOTAM of long duration, the information contained in the NOTAM shall be included in the AIP Supplement” (6.1.4.5), and further that “within three months from the issuing of a permanent NOTAM, the information contained in the NOTAM shall be included in the aeronautical information products affected” (6.1.4.4). In addition, “when a NOTAM with estimated end of validity unexpectedly exceeds the three-month period, a replacement NOTAM shall be issued, unless the condition is expected to last for a further period of more than three months; in this case, an AIP Supplement shall be issued” (6.1.4.6). 

In either case, a NOTAM should never be active for more than three months, and never be replaced more than once. So, why are one out of five NOTAM “old” or even “very old” according to the definitions given above? 

There are several possible explanations; one explanation being that a NOTAM with an estimated end date (EST) has not been cancelled or replaced before the date-time specified in Item C (see Doc 10066, App 3-5) and therefore remains in the system indefinitely. 

Another explanation is that a NOTAM containing permanent information, indicated by PERM in the date-time field of Item C, has not been included in the appropriate aeronautical information products, as mentioned in PANS-AIM (6.1.4.4) and therefore remains in the system indefinitely. However, despite being referred to as “permanent”, a PERM NOTAM should never remain in the system for more than three months. 

As stated earlier, PANS-AIM, 6.1.4.6 mentions that a NOTAM can exceptionally be replaced once for, at most, another three months. However, findings have shown that some NOTAMR are being replaced multiple times, sometimes for years. Note that since these NOTAM do not individually exceed three months duration, they are not even captured by the NOTAMeter. Needless to say, repetitive NOTAM replacements are clearly violating the original intent of a NOTAM. 

Last but not least, an old NOTAM can enter the system when the originator simply promulgates a NOTAM for an applicability period in excess of three months. 

Whatever the reason, the objective of the global campaign on old NOTAM is to raise awareness of the importance of NOTAM for pilots, dispatchers and aircraft operators around the world. Day in day out, they are struggling to retrieve operationally significant information from an increasing number of NOTAM that do not adhere to international standards and recommended practices. Evidently, old NOTAM are part of a quality problem that is ever more turning into a real safety concern (Ref.: IFALPA Letter to the AIS Community.pdf). 

The objective of ICAO’s Global Campaign on NOTAM Improvement is to enhance the quality of NOTAM by eliminating non-compliant NOTAM. With your help, we can potentially eliminate more than 400,000 old NOTAM in 2021 alone, and prevent it from reoccurring in future years. 

For comments or questions regarding the NOTAM2021 campaign, please contact us at NOTAM@icao.int

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FAQ


What is a NOTAM?

A NOTAM is defined as "a notice distributed by means of telecommunication containing information concerning the establishment, condition or change in any aeronautical facility, service, procedure or hazard, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations" (Annex 15 - Aeronautical Information Services). 



Why do old NOTAM matter? 

At any point in time, the average number of active NOTAM worldwide is about 35,000; of these, 7,000 NOTAM are older than three months. In other words, there are potentially twenty percent of NOTAM appearing in pre-flight information packages for pilots that should not be there. The amount of NOTAM that pilots have to review is a large part of the reason why pilots are missing safety critical information. If we can eliminate all old NOTAM, we can significantly improve the quality of the NOTAM system. 


How does the NOTAM2021 campaign address quality of NOTAM?

 

The first phase of the NOTAM2021 campaign on NOTAM improvement focusses on one quality issue affecting NOTAM, namely old NOTAM. The intent is to address the widespread misuse of NOTAM to promulgate information with validity exceeding three months. Eliminating old NOTAM does not imply that the overall quality of NOTAM is improving, nor does the global campaign replace or substitute a State's quality management system (QMS) obligation for AIS. All provisions for the quality management of aeronautical information still apply. For details see Annex 15, Chapter 3.6, Quality management system, and PANS-AIM (Doc 10066), Chapter 3, Quality management.



What is the NOTAMeter?

The NOTAMeter is a web-based software tool for analysing NOTAM by providing an estimate of the absolute and relative numbers of current, old and very old NOTAM. The tool lets you explore the NOTAM statistics of your State and compare it to your applicable ICAO region or worldwide. It allows you to monitor your State's progress in eliminating old and very old NOTAM. Its purpose is not to provide detailed analyses beyond the scope of the NOTAM2021 campaign.  
The NOTAMeter uses the data of the U.S. Defense Internet NOTAM Service (DINS) as its data source; it is not to be used for operational purposes. All terms and conditions of the ICAO Disclaimer apply.  


Do you have NOTAM2021 promotional material I may use? 

Yes, we have prepared a NOTAM2021 Flyer which you may use at your local or national events to raise awareness of the campaign and its objective. You can download the flyer in MS Publisher format (NOTAM 2021 Flyer.pub), or in Adobe pdf format (NOTAM 2021 Flyer.pdf). 


How can I help improve this website? 

If you have a suggestion how to improve this website, or if you find an error, please contact us at NOTAM@icao.int 


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Follow the media:  
       17 Mar 2021: There is NOTAM like the present to launch this global campaign. 


Updated: 03 June 2021


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