April 18, 2019

NOTAM Format to Change in Fall


Nav Canada announced this week that the format in which NOTAMs (Notice To Airmen) are expressed will be changing this fall to conform with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

“We are confident that the ICAO NOTAM format will benefit our stakeholders by supporting streamlined and pertinent pre-flight and in-flight briefings. This move brings us into compliance with international standards and will eliminate the need for pilots flying international routes to be familiar with more than one NOTAM format,” said Bill Crawley, Nav Canada’s director of Air Traffic Services System Integration, in an email to COPA.

Summary of Changes:

Current After Fall of 2019
Canadian NOTAMs are disseminated in Canadian domestic NOTAM format using NOTAM files. All Canadian domestic NOTAMs will be disseminated in ICAO NOTAM format. Domestic NOTAM files will no longer be used.
Canadian NOTAMs requiring international distribution are converted in the ICAO format and issued by International NOTAM Office (NOF).
Series A, B, Y and Z are used to identify and sequence NOTAMs in ICAO NOTAM format. Series C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, U, and V will be used to identify and sequence NOTAMs.


The new ICAO NOTAM Series model will be based on subjects and selective dissemination by regions and will be promulgated in advance.

RSC reports are disseminated using domestic NOTAMJ format. RSC will continue to be disseminated in Canadian domestic NOTAMJ format until fall 2020.


NOTAM files will continue to be used only for RSC reports.

Runway Surface Condition (RCS) reports will not be changed until the fall of 2020.

NOTAM originators, including aerodrome operators and flight training units that relay information for inclusion in NOTAMs will be required to submit them in the new format. Pilots and other NOTAM users will need to become familiar with the new format.

NOTAM users who access NOTAMs via third-parties (such as via smart-phone-apps) may not see the NOTAMs displayed with the new format unless updated accordingly.

See immediately below for examples of the old and new formats (in English and French). Below that is a document providing further details of the transition.

ICAO NOTAM Format brochure


Further details:

Briefing on the transition to ICAO NOTAM format