Clearance of the airway is dependent on directional mucus flow across the mucociliary epithelium, and deficient flow is implicated in a range of human disorders. Efficient flow relies on proper polarization of the multiciliated cells and sufficient ciliary beat frequency. We show that NO, produced by nNOS in the multiciliated cells of the mouse trachea, controls both the planar polarity and the ciliary beat frequency and is thereby necessary for the generation of the robust flow. The effect of nNOS on the polarity of ciliated cells relies on its interactions with the apical networks of actin and microtubules and involves RhoA activation. The action of nNOS on the beat frequency is mediated by guanylate cyclase; both NO donors and cGMP can augment fluid flow in the trachea and rescue the deficient flow in nNOS mutants. Our results link insufficient availability of NO in ciliated cells to defects in flow and ciliary activity and may thereby explain the low levels of exhaled NO in ciliopathies.