Notam, Airport Improvement Bills Clear U.S. House

 - June 15, 2021, 5:40 PM

The U.S. House of Representatives approved two bills on June 15 to improve the notice to airmen system and expedite airport improvement projects. Voice vote approvals of the Notice to Airman Improvement Act of 2021 (H.R.1262) and the Expedited Delivery of Airport Infrastructure Act of 2021 (H.R.468) followed passage by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in March. The bills—both of which received bipartisan support and are considered uncontroversial—head next to the Senate for consideration.

Introduced by Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minnesota) with Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-California) co-sponsoring, H.R.1262 calls on the FAA to establish a task force to review the notam system and recommend improvements within 18 months. “I have heard from a number of pilots who have expressed concerns over the inefficiencies of the notam system,” Stauber said. “Modern aviation is incredibly safe, but to keep it that way, we must constantly work to update and improve upon safety protocols.”

The bill has received strong backing from business and general aviation groups. “Improving long-overdue changes to these safety of flight notifications will be very welcomed by pilots,” said Jim Coon, senior v-p of government affairs and advocacy for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

“Notams have always been an authoritative source of timely and relevant information critical to aviation safety,” added NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “We welcome this legislation, which aims to enhance not only the availability of that information but to improve the way it is presented, to the benefit of our pilot community.”

Meanwhile, H.R.468, introduced earlier this year by T&I committee ranking member Sam Graves (R-Missouri) and aviation subcommittee ranking member Garret Graves (R-Louisiana), would clear the way for the use of Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds to foster early completion of airport projects.

Reversing a stumbling block in place for use of AIP funds for incentives, the bill takes an approach in use for road and bridge projects. The incentives must be directed toward projects that would increase capacity and efficiency and result in cost savings as a result of the shortened project.

“This is a smart reform that can help deliver airport projects ahead of schedule, relieve operational disruptions at airports caused by unfinished projects, and save money,” Rep. Sam Graves said. “Getting projects done sooner rather than later can essentially provide a similar impact as increasing investment without requiring any additional federal resources.”

“We need to make sure our airports are ready to handle the increase in travel—whether vacations, leisure, or business trips. Overall, this is a win-win for airports and taxpayers alike,” added Rep. Garret Graves.

Airports groups, including the Airports Council International-North America and the American Association of Airport Executives, along with other organizations, such as Associated General Contractors of America, also supported the measure.