Reference number
Published date
Affected operation/industry
Concern subject type
Reporter's deidentified concern

The reporter has raised a concern regarding incorrect times being published on notices to airmen (NOTAMs). The reporter is aware of at least 3 NOTAMs that have had an incorrect time used and is concerned that this may be a systemic issue. The reporter queries if the process for issuing NOTAMs needs to be reviewed. 

In one example, the NOTAM was submitted in Eastern Standard Time, which is a tick box option on the NOTAM form. Presumably the NOTAM office did not convert EST to Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) and the NOTAM for a closed runway was published using EST. The NOTAM originator evidently did not detect the error either. Once the error was detected, the NOTAM Office was quick to rectify the NOTAM; however, flight crew being unaware of a closed runway has obvious and serious safety risks. 

The reporter queries if the use of an EST option on the NOTAM form is suitable, and also queries the quality assurance processes in place to check NOTAMs prior to issuing.

Named party's response

Airservices appreciates the opportunity to respond to the concerns raised in the REPCON relating to incorrect times published in NOTAMS.

Our Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) NOTAM Office has identified that the acronym EST on the NOTAM Form may be misinterpreted as ‘Eastern Standard Time’ when it actually represents ‘Estimated’ time when completed by the Aeronautical Data Originators (ADOs).

In 2025, with the introduction of the eAIP, industry will be required to shift completely to UTC timings only. We have an opportunity to lead ADOs in this space earlier via updating the NOTAM Form to reflect ‘Estimated’ with the view of phasing out and only using UTC on the form. ADOs are regularly provided feedback for education purposes. Additionally, the NOTAM Office checking process is reviewed regularly under our Quality Assurance programme and is considered fit for purpose.

Regulator's response

The ATSB did not seek a comment from the regulator.