Special to the Leader & Times
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, ranking member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and co-chair of the Senate Travel Caucus – joined Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) in announcing this week that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation passed their bipartisan legislation to help prevent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system outages. The NOTAM Improvement Act would require the FAA 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-Minn.) passed the U.S. House of Representatives in January with a strong bipartisan vote of 424-4.
“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. 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 task force would be composed of representatives from air carriers, airports and airline pilots, aircraft dispatchers and FAA personnel unions, as well as aviation safety and cybersecurity experts.
In January, 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 to prevent similar breakdowns from happening again.
“Travelers in the United States deserve safe and dependable air travel service. As co-chairs of the Senate Travel and Tourism Caucus, we had a constructive conversation with FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen who said that his agency is working to determine what caused today’s breakdown to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” the January statement from Moran’s office noted. “We are committed to working together in a bipartisan way to strengthen and modernize our air travel system and meet the demands of our 21st century economy.”