Legislation comes after recent Notice to Air Missions system failure grounded flights nationwide

The NOTAM Improvement Act is led in the House by Representative Pete Stauber

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) announced that the Senate Commerce Committee passed their bipartisan legislation to help prevent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system outages. The NOTAM Improvement Act would require the FAA to establish a task force to strengthen the resiliency and cybersecurity of the NOTAM system, which alerts pilots of safety and location hazards on flight routes. This bill follows a recent NOTAM system outage in January that grounded flights nationwide. Companion legislation led by Representative Pete Stauber (R-MN) passed the House of Representatives in January by a strong bipartisan vote of 424-4. 

“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,” said Klobuchar. “By upgrading and modernizing the FAA’s NOTAM system, our bipartisan legislation would improve aviation safety and prevent system outages from derailing travel. Now that our bill has passed the Commerce Committee, I look forward to working with Representative Stauber and my colleagues to advance this legislation and get it signed into law.” 

“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,” said Moran. “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.”

“The system failure that grounded all flights earlier this year cannot happen again, and I am proud to join my colleagues Senators Klobuchar and Moran in advancing our legislation that will prevent similar outages in the future. The NOTAM Improvement Act creates a taskforce of experts to develop specific improvements for this critical system, and I’m pleased to see it take a major step forward today in passing the Senate Commerce Committee. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers, to join our efforts and get this legislation to the president’s desk as soon as possible,” said Capito.

“The NOTAM system failures earlier this year stressed the urgent need to upgrade the program to ensure the safety of pilots, their crews and passengers,” said Stauber. “I’ve heard from many pilots over the years about the vulnerabilities of the NOTAM system and my bill to address this passed the House with bipartisan support the last three Congresses. I am grateful that the Senate Commerce Committee took action and we are one more step closer to the NOTAM Improvement Act becoming law.”

The task force would be composed of representatives from air carriers, airports, and airline pilot, aircraft dispatcher, and FAA personnel unions, as well as aviation safety and cybersecurity experts. 

In January, Klobuchar and Moran spoke with FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen following the NOTAM system failure to discuss his agency’s efforts to identify the factors behind the system outage that grounded all flights nationwide and prevent similar breakdowns from happening again.