MONTREAL, CANADA — An industry collective is utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline the complexity of Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) communications, which provide pilots with essential safety-critical information.

NOTAMS have long been a source of frustration for pilots due to their sheer volume, lack of priority-based filtering, challenging format, and a significant portion of outdated information that remains in the distribution system.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) began efforts to alleviate this problem two years ago, specifically focusing on the removal of old NOTAMs. A notable group, OpsGroup, has also been concerned with the NOTAM issue and is supporting the NOTAM Alliance—an assembly of airlines, pilots, dispatchers, and other end-users—to reorganize raw NOTAM information with the help of AI and generate a simplified, user-friendly briefing for pilots.

OpsGroup aims to create an open-source blueprint for everyone to use, not a restricted, commercial product. The group plans to publish an implementation guide that will allow all aircraft operators to employ the process.

According to the group, until this year, most believed that the solution to NOTAM complexity was to change how they are issued. However, AI has introduced a substantial shift in the aeronautical information sphere. AI tools have demonstrated a high level of reliability in comprehending NOTAMs, allowing the group to create a prototype system that gathers raw NOTAMs, uses AI to apply tags from a list of 50 key phrases that pilots find most valuable, and produces an easy-to-read summary in plain language.

The NOTAMs are then sorted, prioritizing the most critical and applicable ones, while the rest, known as 'dark NOTAMs,' are moved to an appendix.

In May, a focused effort involving around 300 individuals—including 175 pilots and representatives of airlines, dispatchers, flight-planning providers, ICAO, OpsGroup, and other organizations—contributed to shaping the model.

The group has developed a functioning model and is eager to see it implemented beyond their core group of airlines and operators. It clarifies that the model is designed for airline operational control centers or flight-planning offices, not as a mobile app. The group continues to refine the development and enhance its efficiency.