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Budget cuts may affect safety at Chattanooga Airport

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Lovell Field and the Chattanooga Municipal Airport are seen in this aerial photo taken in February, 2007. Lovell Field and the Chattanooga Municipal Airport are seen in this aerial photo taken in February, 2007.

CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -- Federal budget sequestration may result in laying off Chattanooga Airport weather observers who provide data to the air traffic control tower, potentially affecting safety at Lovell Field, an official says.

Charles Starrett, acting supervisor of the federal contract weather office at the airport, said Monday that if personnel there are laid off because of the budget cuts, "that would affect in my opinion...safety at Lovell Field."

"We support the air traffic controller and the pilots coming in on the local weather conditions," he said.

The airport facility, which houses six people on a contract basis, collects weather information, makes sure it's accurate and sends it out to the air traffic control tower at the airport and the National Weather Service. The facility was operating 24 hours a day, but as of Feb. 1 the night shift was eliminated, and it's now running 18 hours daily, Starrett said.

Read more from our news partner the Times Free Press.

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