Air traffic controllers warn of possible staffing shortage at DIA

Canadian air traffic controllers are buying pizzas for their US colleagues who aren't getting paid during the government shutdown. Here an Air Canada jet flies past the control tower at Montreal's Dorval International Airport

American air traffic controllers suffering from the US government's partial shutdown that began on December 22 have been gifted stacks of pizza pies from their Canadian counterparts in an industry-wide show of support.

By Sunday afternoon, more than 300 pizzas had been delivered to 49 control centres across the U.S., estimated Peter Duffy, the president of the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association.

"I couldn't be more proud of what my members are doing", said Peter Duffey, president of the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association (CATCA).

Duffey said the employees searched the location of their American counterparts, and found pizza places nearby, like Little Caesars and Papa John's.

All seven of Canada's control centres and many towers have since joined in and ordered pizzas for their USA counterparts working along the border, many of whom have taken to social media to express their gratitude.

Duffey said many union members had been looking for a way to show solidarity with their American colleagues, who have been working without pay due to the partial shutdown.

Around 10,000 United States controllers are believed to have worked for nothing since December 22 when the government shutdown began.

He added: 'Air traffic control is a very stressful job.

US federal air traffic controller union members protesting the partial government shutdown in Washington DC on Thursday. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is suing the federal government
Air traffic controllers warn of possible staffing shortage at DIA

Waggener says about 20 percent of air traffic controllers are eligible to retire, and they were already at a 30-year low before the shutdown.

Photos from the USA facilities showed smiling workers enjoying the pizza and posing with "thank you" notes to their Canadian counterparts. "It fed probably 30 to 40 people, so that's a lot of pizza".

"There's people out there who are just saying, 'Hey, I work with you as a friend or a colleague and here's a nice gesture of friendship, that we care, '" said David Lombardo, a former air traffic controller who lives in Long Island and runs the "ATC Memes" Facebook group, in an interview with Huffington Post Canada.

Air traffic controllers will be asking passengers to contact government leaders in Washington, urging them to end the shutdown.

Cormier said there's a bond between Canadian and American air traffic controllers since the two work closely together to manage cross-border airspace.

"It's just a really good shot in the arm of positive energy and positive emotion to know that, 'Hey they've got our back, '" Church told CBC Canada.

Canadian air traffic controllers are really leaning in to the stereotypical niceness associated with our neighbors to the north.



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