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NOTAM System Outage Impacts United States and Canada

Inside an FAA Air Traffic Control Tower at Washington Dulles International Airport. The federal agency is celebrating 100 years of its Flight Service program. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Ryan Ewing)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that air operations in U.S. airspace were affected by the failure of the NOTAM (Notice to Air Mission) system, which informs aircrews and all operations-related personnel of key flight safety issues, are returning to a normal status as final validation checks were performed and the system was reloaded.

At 6:57 AM ET (11.57 AM GMT) the FAA updated the status update reporting that “while some functions are beginning to come back online, National Airspace System operations remain limited.”

At 7:19 AM ET (12:29 PM GMT) they confirmed the order to all airlines to suspend domestic flight departures until 9:00 AM EST (2:00 PM GMT) “to allow the agency to validate the integrity of flight and safety information.”

They also stated that “all flights currently in the sky are safe to land. Pilots check the NOTAM system before they fly”.

At 8:15 AM ET (1:15 PM GMT) the FAA reported that “is making progress in restoring its NOTAM system” and that departures are being resumed at Newark Liberty (EWR) and Atlanta (ATL) airports due to air traffic congestion in those areas. At all other airports, 9:00 AM ET remains the estimated resumption time.

At 8:50 AM ET (1:50 PM GMT) the FAA updated the status reporting that the departure suspension was lifted, and air operations are gradually resuming in the United States while they continue to investigate the cause of the initial problem.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said this morning that President Joe Biden has been briefed by the Secretary of Transportation on the NOTAM system outage, clarifying that at the time there is no evidence that it was the result of a cyberattack, although the Department of Transportation was instructed to conduct a full investigation into the matter.

Data obtained through Cirium indicates that 19,621 domestic flights are scheduled for this Wednesday in the United States, representing an offer of 2,547,394 seats.

A NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) is a notice issued by a government agency to inform pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight. NOTAMs are issued for a variety of reasons, such as to inform pilots of closed or changed runways, temporary flight restrictions, or the presence of hazardous conditions like severe weather.

Air traffic control or other aviation authorities typically issue NOTAMs, and they can be valid for a specific period or until canceled by another NOTAM. Pilots are responsible for checking NOTAMs before a flight to ensure they are aware of any potential hazards.

Canada: same issue, but not related

NAV CANADA, Canada’s air traffic control service provider, reported at 5:38 PM GMT that the NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) entry system is down. The outage does not affect the consultation of those NOTAMs that were previously published, but it does affect the uploading of new notices. In any case, the agency indicated that they are not experiencing flight delays related to this downtime.

“We are assessing the impacts to our operations and will provide updates as soon as they become available,” NAV CANADA said in a statement.

This article was originally published by Edgardo Gimenez Mazó on Aviacionline in syndication with AirlineGeeks.

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  • Aviacionline

    Born in Argentina, with a regional focus and global reach, Aviacionline is the Spanish-speaking leader in Latin America.

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