LAKELAND -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a big move for its fleet of nine airplanes to Lakeland Linder Regional airport in the spring of 2017.
The agency reached an agreement with the City of Lakeland for a 10-year lease for a hangar and office space for NOAA's Aircraft Operations Center.
The airport will become the new home for the aircraft which are instrumental in providing the latest details about weather and developing tropical systems. Three of the agency's "hurricane hunter" aircraft are part of the fleet.
The AOC will make their move from their home at MacDill Air Force Base and be "fully prepared" for operations in advance of the 2017 hurricane season.
NOAA selected Lakeland Linder Regional out of a competition opened to airfields within 50 miles of MacDill, in order to keep its "highly skilled and specialized workforce" close to their current home. The City of Lakeland's proposal was, according to NOAA, "the lowest-priced technically acceptable offer."