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NOTAM format

Birth of a NOTAM

NOTAM start life as messages on the Aeronautical Fixed System (AFS). They are received centrally at the UK NOTAM office at London Heathrow from originators within the UK and from foreign NOTAM offices. AIS staff check and edit the NOTAM if necessary and they are then placed in the transmit queue for transmission to all UK NOTAM recipients. These include ATC offices, some airlines, briefing services etc.
There is no central world-wide NOTAM database, databases are built up individually by users from the incoming message stream.


The format of NOTAM is defined in Annex 15 to the International Convention on Civil Aviation. An explanation of the format can be found here. Here is a typical NOTAM and its decode.
A1484/02 NOTAMN
Q) EGTT/QMRXX/IV/NBO/A/000/999/5129N00028W005
B) 0208231540
C) 0210310500 EST


A1484/02 - one letter to indicate the Series, a 4-digit NOTAM number followed by a stroke and two digits to indicate the year.
NOTAMN - Suffix N Indicates this is a new NOTAM. Other options are R for NOTAM replacing another or C for one cancelling another.
Q) EGTT/QMRXX/IV/NBO/A/000/999/5129N00028W005
This is the "Q" or qualifier line, it always starts Q) and contains the following fields, each separated by a stroke.
FIR (here EGTT, London FIR)
NOTAM Code, a 5 letter code starting with Q, defined in Annexe 15. Here QMR indicates that it concerns a Runway. XX indicates that remaining detail is in Plain Language. In this particular case the text shows that certain runway lighting is unavailable. Strictly speaking under ICAO rules this should have appeared as separate NOTAM for each type of lighting. QLCAS is the code for centreline lighting u/s QLZAS is the code for Touch Down Zone lighting u/s and QLAAS is the code for Approach Lighting u/s (note in all cases AS indicates unserviceable). The use of QMRXX here is a sensible compromise that reduces the number of NOTAM from three to one. A full list of codes is included in ICAO document 8126 (Aeronautical Information Services Manual).
IV - Indicates that this is significant for IFR and VFR traffic
NBO - indicates for immediate attention of aircraft operators, for inclusion in PIB's and Operationally significant for IFR flights
A - Indicates scope, here Aerodrome, others are E (en-route) or W (nav warning)
000/999 - lower and upper limits expressed as a flight level. In this case it has been left as the default as it is not applicable.
5129N00028W005 - Indicates the geographical centre and radius of influence, always this number of digits. In this case the radius is 5 n.m.
A) EGLL - ICAO indicator of the aerodrome or FIR (London Heathrow) can include more than one FIR
B) 0208231540 - Date/time group (UTC) when this NOTAM becomes effective (YYMMDDhhmm)
C) 0210310500 EST - Date/time group (UTC) when the NOTAM ceases to be effective. Note "EST" means "estimated" (NOT Eastern Standard Time!). All NOTAM with EST remain in force until cancelled or replaced.
E) RWY 09R/27L DUE WIP NO CENTRELINE, TDZ OR SALS LIGHTING AVBL - text of the notam using ICAO abbreviations.
Decode of this is "Runway 09/27 due to work in progress no centreline, touchdown zone or simple approach lighting system available"

Here's the whole thing again
A1484/02 NOTAMN
Q) EGTT/QMRXX/IV/NBO/A/000/999/5129N00028W005
B) 0208231540
C) 0210310500 EST
and here's the same thing as it appears in the PIB produced by ANAIS
AGA : FROM 02/08/23 15:40 TO 02/10/31 05:00 EST A1484/02

You can see that the Q line is omitted entirely, A) has been stripped out because it appears as the header to the section and B) and C) have been reformatted and placed in the first line. AGA has been derived from the Q Code "QMR" (see Annex 15)


This appendix is to be used to interpret the contents of coded international NOTAM's.
a. A NOTAM code group contains five letters. The first letter is always the letter "Q'' to indicate a code abbreviation for use in the composition of NOTAM's.
b. The second and third letters identify the subject being reported. (See Second and Third Letter Decode Tables).
c. The fourth and fifth letters identify the status of operation of the subject being reported. (See Fourth and Fifth Letter Decode Tables).


AGA Lighting Facilities (L)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

LA Approach lighting system (specify runway and type) apch lgt
LB Aerodrome beacon abn
LC Runway center line lights (specify runway) rwy centreline lgt
LD Landing direction indicator lights ldi lgt
LE Runway edge lights (specify runway) rwy edge lgt
LF Sequenced flashing lights (specify runway) sequenced flg lgt
LH High intensity runway lights (specify runway) high intst rwy lgt
LI Runway end identifier lights (specify runway) rwy end id lgt
LJ Runway alignment indicator lights (specify runway) rwy alignment indicator lgt
LK Category II components of approach lighting system (specify runway) category II components apch lgt
LL Low intensity runway lights (specify runway) low intst rwy lgt
LM Medium intensity runway lights (specify runway) medium intst rwy lgt
LP Precision approach path indicator (PAPI) (specify runway) papi
LR All landing area lighting facilities ldg area lgt fac
LS Stopway lights (specify runway) swy lgt
LT Threshold lights (specify runway) thr lgt
LV Visual approach slope indicator system (specify type and runway) vasis
LW Heliport lighting heliport lgt
LX Taxiway centre line lights (specify taxiway) twy centreline lgt
LY Taxiway edge lights (specify taxiway) twy edge lgt
LZ Runway touchdown zone lights (specify runway) rwy tdz lgt

AGA Movement and Landing Area (M)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

MA Movement area mov area
MB Bearing strength (specify part of landing area or movement area) bearing strength
MC Clearway (specify runway) cwy
MD Declared distances (specify runway) declared dist
MG Taxiing guidance system tax guidance system
MH Runway arresting gear (specify runway) rwy arst gear
MK Parking area prkg area
MM Daylight markings (specify threshold, centre line, etc.) day markings
MN Apron apron
MP Aircraft stands (specify) acft stand
MR Runway (specify runway) rwy
MS Stopway (specify runway) swy
MT Threshold (specify runway) thr
MU Runway turning bay (specify runway) rwy turning bay
MW Strip (specify runway) strip
MX Taxiway(s) (specify) twy

AGA Facilities and Services (F)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

FA Aerodrome ad
FB Braking action measurement equipment (specify type) ba measurement eqpt
FC Ceiling measurement equipment ceiling measurement eqpt
FD Docking system (specify AGNIS, BOLDS, etc.) dckg system
FF Fire fighting and rescue fire and rescue
FG Ground movement control gnd mov ctl
FH Helicopter alighting area/platform hel alighting area
FL Landing direction indicator ldi
FM Meteorological service (specify type) met
FO Fog dispersal system fog dispersal
FP Heliport heliport
FS Snow removal equipment snow removal eqpt
FT Transmissometer (specify runway and, where applicable, designator(s) of transmissometer(s)) transmissometer
FU Fuel availability fuel avbl
FW Wind direction indicator wdi
FZ Customs cust

COM Communications and Radar Facilities (C)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

CA Air/ground (specify service and frequency) a/g fac
CE En route surveillance radar rsr
CG Ground controlled approach system (GCA) gca
CL Selective calling system (SELCAL) selcal
CM Surface movement radar smr
CP Precision approach radar (PAR) (specify runway) par
CR Surveillance radar element of precision approach radar system (specify wavelength) sre
CS Secondary surveillance radar (SSR) ssr
CT Terminal area surveillance radar (TAR) tar

COM Instrument and Microwave Landing System (I)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

ID DME associated with ILS ils dme
IG Glide path (ILS) (specify runway) ils gp
II Inner marker (ILS) (specify runway) ils im
IL Localizer (ILS) (specify runway) ils liz
IM Middle marker (ILS) (specify runway) ils mm
IO Outer marker (ILS) (specify runway) ils om
IS ILS Category I (specify runway) ils I
IT ILS Category II (specify runway) ils II
IU ILS Category III (specify runway) ils III
IW Microwave landing system (MLS) (specify runway) mls
IX Locator, outer (ILS) (specify runway) ils lo
IY Locator, middle (ILS) (specify runway) ils lm

COM Terminal and En Route Navigation Facilities (N)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

NA All radio navigation facilities (except...) all rdo nav fac
NB Nondirectional radio beacon ndb
NC DECCA decca
ND Distance measuring equipment (DME) dme
NF Fan marker fan mkr
NL Locator (specify identification) l
NM VOR/DME vor/dme
NN TACAN tacan
NO OMEGA omega
NT VORTAC vortac
NV VOR vor
NX Direction finding station (specify type and frequency) df

RAC Airspace Organization (A)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

AA Minimum altitude (specify en route/crossing/safe) mnm alt
AC Class B, C, D, or E Surface Area ctr
AD Air defense identification zone (ADIZ) adiz
AE Control area (CTA) cta
AF Flight information region (FIR) fir
AH Upper control area (UTA) uta
AL Minimum usable flight level mnm usable fl
AN Area navigation route rnav route
AO Oceanic control area (OCA) oca
AP Reporting point (specify name or Coded designator) rep
AR ATS route (specify) ats route
AT Class B Airspace tma
AU Upper flight information region (UIR) uir
AV Upper advisory area (UDA) uda
AX Intersection (INT) int
AZ Aerodrome traffic zone (ATZ) atz

RAC Air Traffic and VOLMET Services (S)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

SA Automatic terminal information service (ATIS) atis
SB ATS reporting office aro
SC Area control centre (ACC) acc
SE Flight information service (FIS) fis
SF Aerodrome flight information service (AFIS) afis
SL Flow control centre flow ctl centre
SO Oceanic area control centre (OAC) oac
SP Approach control service (APP) app
SS Flight service station (FSS) fss
ST Aerodrome control tower (TWR) twr
SU Upper area control centre (UAC) uac
SV VOLMET broadcast volmet
SY Upper advisory service (specify) advisory ser

RAC Air Traffic Procedures (P)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

PA Standard instrument arrival (STAR) (specify route designator) star
PD Standard instrument departure (SID) (specify route designator) sid
PF Flow control procedure flow ctl proc
PH Holding procedure hldg proc
PI Instrument approach procedure (specify type and runway) inst apch proc
PL Obstacle clearance limit (specify procedure) ocl
PM Aerodrome operating minima (specify procedure and amended minimum) opr minima
PO Obstacle clearance altitude oca
PP Obstacle clearance height och
PR Radio failure procedure radio failure proc
PT Transition altitude transition alt
PU Missed approach procedure (specify runway) missed apch proc
PX Minimum holding altitude (specify fix) mnm hldg alt
PZ ADIZ procedure adiz proc

Navigation Warnings: Airspace Restrictions (R)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

RA Airspace reservation (specify) airspace reservation
RD Danger area (specify national prefix and number) ..d..
RO Overflying of ... (specify) overflying
RP Prohibited area (specify national prefix and number) ..p..
RR Restricted area (specify national prefix and number) ..r..
RT Temporary restricted area tempo restricted

Navigation Warnings: Warnings (W)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

WA Air display air display
WB Aerobatics aerobatics
WC Captive balloon or kite captive balloon or kite
WD Demolition of explosives demolition of explosives
WE Exercises (specify) exer
WF Air refueling air refueling
WG Glider flying glider flying
WJ Banner/target towing banner/target towing
WL Ascent of free balloon ascent of free balloon
WM Missile, gun or rocket firing frng
WP Parachute jumping exercise (PJE) pje
WS Burning or blowing gas burning or blowing gas
WT Mass movement of aircraft mass mov of acft
WV Formation flight formation flt
WZ model flying model flying

Other Information (O)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

OA Aeronautical information service ais
OB Obstacle (specify details) obst
OE Aircraft entry requirements acft entry rqmnts
OL Obstacle lights on ... (specify) obst lgt
OR Rescue coordination centre rcc


Availability (A)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

AC Withdrawn for maintenance withdrawn maint
AD Available for daylight operation avbl day ops
AF Flight checked and found reliable fltck okay
AG Operating but ground checked only, awaiting flight check opr awaiting fltck
AH Hours of service are now hr ser
AK Resumed normal operations okay
AM Military operations only mil ops only
AN Available for night operation avbl night ops
AO Operational opr
AP Available, prior permission required avbl ppr
AR Available on request avbl o/r
AS Unserviceable u/s
AU Not available (specify reason if appropriate) not avbl
AW Completely withdrawn withdrawn
AX Previously promulgated shutdown has been cancelled promulgated shutdown cnl

Changes (C)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

CA Activated act
CC Completed cmpl
CD Deactivated deactivated
CE Erected erected
CF Operating frequency(ies) changed to freq change
CG Downgraded to downgraded to
CH Changed changed
CI Identification or radio call sign changed to ident change
CL Realigned realigned
CM Displaced displaced
CO Operating opr
CP Operating on reduced power opr reduced pwr
CR Temporarily replaced by tempo rplcd by
CS Installed installed
CT On test, do not use on test, do not use

Hazard Conditions (H)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

HA Braking action is ... ba is




HB Braking coefficient is ... (specify measurement device used) brkg coefficient is
HC Covered by compacted snow to depth of cov compacted snow depth
HD Covered by dry snow to a depth of cov dry snow depth
HE Covered by water to a depth of cov water depth
HF Totally free of snow and ice free of snow and ice
HG Grass cutting in progress grass cutting
HH Hazard due to (specify) hazard due
HI Covered by ice cov ice
HJ Launch planned ... (specify balloon flight identification or project Code name, launch site, planned period of launch(es)_date/time, expected climb direction, estimate time to pass 18,000 m (60,000 ft), together with estimated location) launch plan
HK Migration in progress migration inpr
HL Snow clearance completed snow clr cmpl
HM Marked by marked by
HN Covered by wet snow or slush to a depth of cov wet snow depth
HO Obscured by snow obscured by snow
HP Snow clearance in progress snow clr inpr
HQ Operation cancelled ... (specify balloon flight identification or project Code name) opr cnl
HR Standing water standing water
HS Sanding in progress sanding
HT Approach according to signal area only apch according signal area only
HU Launch in progress ... (specify balloon flight identification or project Code name, launch site, date/time of launch(es), estimated time passing 18,000 m (60,000 ft), or reaching cruising level if at or below 18,000 m (60,000 ft), together with estimated location, estimated date/time of termination of the flight, and planned location of ground contact when applicable) launch inpr
HV Work completed work cmpl
HW Work in progress wip
HX Concentration of birds bird concentration
HY Snow banks exist (specify height) snow banks hgt
HZ Covered by frozen ruts and ridges cov frozen ruts and ridges

Limitations (L)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

LA Operating on auxiliary power supply opr aux pwr
LB Reserved for aircraft based therein reserved for acft based therein
LC Closed clsd
LD Unsafe unsafe
LE Operating without auxiliary power supply opr without aux pwr
LF Interference from interference from
LG Operating without identification opr without ident
LH Unserviceable for aircraft heavier than u/s acft heavier than
LI Closed to IFR operations clsd ifr ops
LK Operating as a fixed light opr as f lgt
LL Usable for length of...and width of... usable length/width
LN Closed to all night operations clsd night ops
LP Prohibited to prohibited to
LR Aircraft restricted to runways and taxiways acft restricted to rwy and twy
LS Subject to interruption subj intrp
LT Limited to limited to
LV Closed to VFR operations clsd vfr ops
LW Will take place will take place
LX Operating but caution advised due to opr but caution due

Other (XX)
Code Signification Uniform Abbreviated Phraseology

XX Where 4th and 5th letter Code does not cover the situation, use XX and supplement by plain language (plain language following the