COVID-19 and its impact on Aeronautical Information: an operative insight

Airlines have reduced flights due to COVID-19 restrictions, but aeronautical information hasn’t been reduced at all. Operational reports tell us that dissemination hasn’t stopped, but it has increased by 15%,  (see February /March). Figures 1-5 have been taken from operational sites (Africa, Europe, South / Central America), and they all confirm the same insight. Clearly, part of this increase must have been caused by the rise of coordination between countries, which ends up with dissemination of information, including COVID-19 NOTAMs.

Looking at percentage and amount of data exchanged between February and March, we identified the following impacted areas:

Airports have been notifying changes in “hours of service”, “availability subject to PPR” for staffing reasons, and “work in progress”, “closures” and “concentration of birds” due  to low traffic.

Most of the COVID-19 NOTAMs are issues as “plain language” as ICAO has no operation code for such events.

Firefighting and rescue issued NOTAMS due to staffing for “reduction of hours of service” and “downgrade of service”.

The METEO service issuing NOTAMS to downgrade of service through plain language.

Aircraft stands have been limited due to parked aircrafts.

Runways have been  notified as “work in progress” and “limitation of usage” due to low traffic.

FIR and alerting service have been downgraded of service through plain language.

Unmanned aircrafts activities notified because of police health restriction checks using drones.

Aerial surveys because of low traffic one of the most visible quirks of flying at the moment are survey-pattern flights.

Data listed in this article has been extracted from IDS AirNav operational system CRONOS the dynamic information system for FPL, PIB management, originators for NOTAM origination, and NOTAM/digital NOTAM management and dissemination, other than meteorological officers, for the inclusion of such data into PIB.