US air traffic controllers get pizza from Canada

Air traffic controllers in Canada attempted to relieve some of the stress of the U.S. government shutdown with pizza. 

“Pizza makes everyone smile. Proud to help even a little bit!” the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association tweeted Sunday. “Our members have sent over 300 pizzas so far!” an additional tweet read.

Canadian Air Traffic Control Association president Peter Duffey told The Associated Press Sunday that the effort began last week. Staff at the Edmonton’s control center began taking up a collection to send pizza to counterparts in Anchorage, Alaska, Thursday.

Other controllers to the north also wanted in.

“The next thing we knew, our members were buying pizzas left, right and center for the colleagues in the U.S,” Duffey told AP. “As it stands right now, I believe we’re up to 36 facilities that have received pizza from Canada, and that number is growing by the hour.”

Stateside, American air traffic controllers have been expressing their gratitude for the pies. 

“Huge thank you to our Union brothers and sisters at @CATCA5454 YYZ Tower for sending us pizza last night!!” an account for the Newark tweeted Sunday. 

“Thanks to our friends to the north at Moncton Center for the pizza!” Portland International Jetport posted Saturday on a Facebook page. “Good to know we have people out there who actually care and want to help in a time of need! If only our own government officials would do something…” 

The government shutdown entered its 24th day on Monday, blowing by the former 21-day record set in late 1995 and early 1996 during the Clinton administration.

On Friday, some 800,000 federal workers missed their first paycheck since the shutdown began, including air traffic controllers. AP estimates that approximately 10,000 air traffic controllers have been on the clock unpaid.

Aviation groups have warned of longer wait times and possible checkpoint closures at major airports. Miami International Airport spokesman Greg Chin told The Miami Herald the airport would close one of its terminals Saturday through Monday because many Transportation Security Administration officials are not reporting to work, and airport officials weren’t confident they would have enough screeners on duty.

Contributing: Michael Collins, John Fritze, David Jackson and The Associated Press

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