YZF air traffic controllers buy pizza for US colleagues

Last modified: January 18, 2019 at 1:45pm

As bandwagons go, this is one of the tastiest.

Latching on to a nationwide trend, air traffic controllers in Yellowknife bought pizza for some of their American counterparts enduring a government shutdown.

The Yellowknife tower chose Juneau, Alaska to be the recipient of its doughy donation, as US station KTOO first reported earlier this week.


“Honestly, it was a little out of the blue,” Juneau air traffic controller Rob Swinton told KTOO, adding he was “definitely interested in going to visit [Yellowknife] now. You know, once this government gets opened back up.”

The US federal government is experiencing its longest-ever shutdown, precipitated by President Donald Trump’s insistence on southern border wall funding and Democrats’ refusal to provide it.

Air traffic controllers across the US are obliged to continue reporting for work during the shutdown but are being paid nothing.

Yellowknife’s generosity mirrors that of air traffic controllers in southern Canada, who recently began making similar pizza orders to help out colleagues across the border.

“A few us have been through Juneau. It was just the desire to pick another northern tower that was similar in size to ours,” Mark Hilman – a controller at Yellowknife Airport, otherwise known as YZF – told CBC’s Trailbreaker.


“We thought Juneau would be the best. We definitely feel kindred spirits with the guys in the States … air traffic controllers worldwide we feel a kinship to, for sure.”

“Morale was really starting to dip,” Swinton told the same program.

“This phone call comes and it raised people’s spirits to let them know people are thinking about them.

“Nobody really knows when they are going to get a paycheque. We have no idea. It could be months or years, according to our president. It was really nice to see a big show of support.”