Federal budget cuts would leave McGhee Tyson without overnight a

Federal budget cuts would leave McGhee Tyson without overnight air traffic staff

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"Historically when we've seen this type of situation, commercial aviation at McGhee Tyson Airport has not been impacted," said McGhee Tyson spokesperson Becky Huckaby. "Historically when we've seen this type of situation, commercial aviation at McGhee Tyson Airport has not been impacted," said McGhee Tyson spokesperson Becky Huckaby.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) - The automatic budget cut plan, also known as the sequester, is set to start this Friday.

If Congress doesn't come up with an alternate plan, government agencies across the board will face widespread cuts.

The FAA is among them and it says at least five airports around Tennessee will be affected, including McGhee Tyson Airport.

If the FAA is forced to move forward with budget cuts, it could mean eliminating staff in air traffic control towers at smaller regional airports across the state.

At McGhee Tyson, it would mean eliminating the overnight staff in their tower.
     
If the automatic cuts go into effect, the FAA will have to trim its budget by $600 million.

To do so, a majority of workers would be furloughed and more than 100 towers at smaller airports nationwide could be closed.

"Historically when we've seen this type of situation, commercial aviation at McGhee Tyson Airport has not been impacted," said McGhee Tyson spokesperson Becky Huckaby.

As the flight schedule stands now, it will not be affected by the shift considered for elimination in the air traffic control tower.

"Initially, you're seeing things past midnight be affected and for us we do not have any scheduled departures or arrivals past that time of night."

The only commercial flights that would come into the airport at that time would be due to inclement weather or mechanics.

If needed, the pilots could use instrument landing technology that guides aircraft to the runway.

Ultimately, it would be up to the FAA and the airlines to decide how to handle those situations on a case by case basis.

If the FAA is forced to make cuts they will not take affect until March 1.

6News attempted to reach the FAA for more information on how eliminating this shift would impact operations, but our calls have not been returned.

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