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Notice To Airmen (NOTAM)

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A notice to airmen (NOTAM)


A notice to airmen (NOTAM) is a notice 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. (ICAO Annex 11: Air Traffic Services)

NOTAMs are issued by national authorities for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Hazards such as air-shows, parachute jumps and glider or micro-light flying;
  • Flights by important people such as heads of state;
  • Closed runways, taxiways, etc;
  • Unserviceable radio navigational aids;
  • Military exercises with resulting airspace restrictions;
  • Unserviceable lights on tall obstructions;
  • Temporary erection of obstacles near airfields (e.g. cranes).

For reasons of conciseness and precision, NOTAMs are encoded, although the code is usually sufficiently self-evident to allow the user to identify a hazard. In aerodrome briefing facilities, NOTAMs are usually posted alongside a map to enable the location of hazards to be easily identified.

NOTAMs are distributed to addressees to whom the information is of direct operational significance, and who would not otherwise have at least seven days' prior notification.

Flight Crew Access to current NOTAMS during pre flight planning may be via an airport flight briefing facility or via an alternative 'tailored access' system provided by their Company which will provide access only to NOTAMS relebant to their intended flight.

Snow conditions are notified, not by NOTAM but by a special message called SNOWTAM. Similarly, volcanic ash is notified as a special message known as an ASHTAM.

Full details concerning the content and distribution of NOTAMs, SNOWTAMs and ASHTAMs are contained in ICAO Annex 15.

Digital NOTAM

The EUROCONTROL Digital NOTAM (xNOTAM) Project, run in cooperation with US FAA, has as an objective the provision of NOTAM information in a format that would make it suitable for automatic processing. This will enable automated systems that support ATC and air navigation to have a more actual view of the aeronautical environment, thus increasing the safety and efficiency of the ATM system.

Related Articles

Further Reading

  • ICAO Annex 15: Aeronautical Information Services, Chapter 5 and Appendices 2, 3 & 6.
  • EUROCONTROL Digital NOTAM Web site: [1]