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Sen. Moran’s Bill to Improve Safety of FAA System and Prevent Outages Heads to President’s Desk

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

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – ranking member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and co-chair of the Senate Travel and Tourism Caucus – along with U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Representatives Pete Stauber (MN-08) and Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10) announced that their bipartisan legislation to help prevent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system outages has passed the U.S. House and U.S. Senate and is headed to the President's desk to be signed into law. 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.

“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 Sen. Moran. “The FAA has a responsibility to make certain air travel in our country is as safe and efficient as possible. Passing this legislation is an important step to help meet the demands of 21st-century travel and prevent a similar failure in the future.”

“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 Sen. Klobuchar. “By upgrading and modernizing the FAA’s NOTAM system, this new law will improve aviation safety and prevent system outages from derailing travel.”

“The system failure that grounded all flights earlier this year cannot happen again, and I was proud to join my colleagues Senators Klobuchar and Moran in this effort that would prevent similar outages in the future,” said Sen. Capito. “The NOTAM Improvement Act creates a taskforce of experts to develop specific improvements for this critical system, and I’m pleased to see it pass the House overwhelmingly and heading to the president’s desk.”

“I’m glad to see my NOTAM Improvement Act clear both chambers of Congress and head to the President’s desk,” said Rep. Stauber. “This critical legislation will improve air travel for Americans by making the NOTAM system work better for pilots and passengers alike. I look forward to seeing the bill be signed into law soon.”

“Since the near-miss incident at San Francisco International Airport in 2017, caused in part by the outdated NOTAM system, I have been working to improve aviation safety for both the workforce and the flying public, and am proud to see this bill passed in a bipartisan manner,” said Rep. DeSaulnier. “The NOTAM Improvement Act, and the task force that it creates, will play an important role in the FAA’s ongoing NOTAM modernization initiative, which should be an important part of our ongoing conversations as we address and improve all aspects of aviation safety.”

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, Sens. Moran and Klobuchar 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.

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