Women can make excellence air traffic controllers, but unfortunately, their involvement in the sector is still at low levels.

This according to Yuvernaes Chandrasekaran, 37, the Senior Assistant Director at Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), formerly known as the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). The deparment falls under the jurisdiction of the Transport Ministry.

Astro Ulagam recently caught up with Yuvernaes, who's recently based in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) air-traffic control tower.

According to her, she wanted to be a teacher, growing up. Her degree is a Bachelor of Science in Enviromental Studies, majoring in Geology.

Despite her unrelated degree, Yuvernaes decided to take a Public Services Commission (SPA) exam for the job of air-traffic controller, upon completion of her studies.

After sitting for an aptitude test and undergoing an interview, she secured a place in the Malaysian Aviation Academy. Here, Yuvernaes had to sit for various courses and tests, before being posted to the Subang Air Traffic Control centre in 2010. She was eventually posted to KLIA in 2013, where she has been since.

Asked about the biggest challenges in her job, Yuvernaes cited weather conditions as one of it.

"When the weather is bad with high winds and poor visibility, departures and arrivals can get disrupted.

"This could lead to congestion on the aerodrome," she said, adding that situations like these required quick thinking to arrive at solutions.

The situation can also get tense when an emergency happens, such as an engine catching fire, or an aircraft experiencing a burst tyre.

In times like these, Yuvernaes, as the officer in charge of air traffic at the tower, will liaise with the airport authorities to manage the situation.

According to her, air traffic has drastically dropped now, compared to the pre COVID-19 pandemic season.

Asked about how she juggles her hectic schedule between her job and being a mother of two kids, aged 9 and 8, Yuvernaes thanked her mother for helping looking after the children when they were younger.

According to her, women can make excellent air traffic controllers, but there are not many of them in the industry, probably due to the lack of awareness about the job.

"Women tend to be more patient, and are able to think out of the box during stressful situations, so they can make better air traffic controllers than men.

"Unfortunately, the industry is very male-dominated - with an estimated ratio of men to women to 70:30," she said, citing that she was the only Indian woman in her batch at studies.

Yuvernaes assured that women can concentrate on their careers, while juggling their duties as a wife and mother.

"Believe me, more women should give a shot at becoming air traffic controllers. It's a very challenging, yet interesting job.

"Ignore those who question your capabilities and 'soar high' with what you are passionate about," she said.

Yuvernaes' interview is part of a series of thirteen inspirational tales of women that Astro Ulagam will be highlighting in the coming weeks, in collaboration with talk show PENGIRL ROCK, a talk show that premiered on March 19 on Vaanavil HD CH201, and highlights inspiring women.


Photos source: Yuvernaes Chandrasekaran