Traverse City Air Traffic Controllers Miss Paycheck, Growing Stressed As Partial Government Shutdown Drags On

Air traffic controllers across the country continue to feel the pinch of the government shutdown.

Controllers in Traverse City just missed their first paycheck this week.

We met Ty Hayman as he prepared for another shift inside the air traffic control tower at Cherry Capital Airport. Keeping planes and passengers taking off and arriving safe.

It’s a job that’s had an added layer of stress in recent weeks.

“It’s extremely stressful, it weighs on the controllers minds, day in day out, at home, at work, that’s all I’m hearing at work is about the shutdown,” said Hayman.

Ty is one of thousands of air traffic controllers across the country who’ve been working without pay since the partial government shutdown started nearly a month ago.

“My nose is just above water right now. If I miss another paycheck, it’s going to be very detrimental to me, talking with some of my other fellow controllers, they’re pretty much in the same boots or same shoes that I am,” said Hayman.

Hayman says that’s causing morale inside the tower to slip, and he worries about the long-term effects both on his co-workers and on safety in the air.

“The stakes are too high for these professional men and women who oversee the safest air space system in the world. Every day that this shutdown continues, it’s negative consequences that are compounding on the airspace system,” explained Hayman.

Ty says another missed paycheck could mean walking away from a nearly two decade career, including 6 years as an air traffic controller with the U.S. Air Force.

“It just feels really unfair being used as a pawn in a political disagreement. I’m not for either side but I do hold both sides accountable for the shutdown, they need to end the shutdown today,” said Hayman.