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The U.S. Senate has introduced a companion bill to the House-passed Notices to Air Missions (NOTAM) Improvement Act of 2023 (H.R. 346), which would create a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) task force. If implemented, the goal of the task force would be to strengthen the resiliency and cybersecurity of the NOTAM system, which alerts pilots of safety and location hazards on flight routes.

The legislation comes in response to a recent NOTAM system outage that grounded flights nationwide on January 11, resulting in over 3,000 delays and cancelations.

The bipartisan bill was first introduced in the House by Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN) and cosponsored by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) before companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

"Travelers in the United States deserve safe and dependable air travel service, not nationwide ground stops caused by system failures. By upgrading and modernizing the FAA's NOTAM system, our bipartisan legislation would improve aviation safety and prevent system outages from derailing travel," Klobuchar said in a press release. "As co-chair of the bipartisan Travel and Tourism Caucus, I look forward to working with Representative Stauber and my colleagues in the Senate to advance this bill and strengthen our air travel infrastructure."

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.

Several leaders throughout the travel industry expressed support for the bill's introduction.

"This bipartisan legislation forming an expert task force will strengthen aviation safety and help prevent the kind of system failure that grounded air travel nationwide earlier this month," said Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy for the U.S. Travel Association. "Like its House companion, which passed Wednesday with overwhelming bipartisan support, the Senate's bill will lead to a more seamless, reliable travel experience for Americans.

"U.S. Travel thanks Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Jerry Moran and Shelley Moore Capito for leading the Senate's efforts on this important issue and we encourage the bill's swift passage."

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.

 

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