Air Angels of Chennai Airport

Women air traffic controllers of Chennai Airport say there is less awareness about this exciting role.

If you are a frequent flier to or from Chennai, chances are many of those flights were guided by woman air traffic controllers to land or take off. 

It was a busy morning when witnessed the entire air traffic control taken over by women at the Chennai airport, as part of International Women’s Day.

Sivaranjini was busy communicating with a pilot. “This is a privileged job. So exciting. We take instant decisions. It feels good when you handle live air traffic” she said.

Priya Banik, a Supervisor said “We coordinate with pilots when they are in the air. On landing or before take off Surface Movement  Controllers take over”. 
Chennai airport handles around 400 flights a day. Out of 262 air traffic controllers only 39 are women. Many say there is a lack of awareness about this job. Hari Priya Nair, a Junior Executive Air Controller says “Very less women apply for this position. In foreign countries this is a sought after well recognised job”. She added “We have shorter six hour shifts for this as it could be stressful sometimes. This system allows us to have a perfect work-life balance”.
“Breaking the bias” was the theme air traffic controllers wing had chosen last year. Graduates in Physics or any Engineering graduates are eligible to apply for this job. Recruitment is done through competitive exam and an interview.  Uma Selvaraj another young lady on the job added “This role is yet another sign of women empowerment. I am so proud”.  
Winding up her work,  another lady air traffic controller chuckled “Breaking the bias should start from home. Parents should encourage their daughters  to take up these exciting positions”.
Next time when you fly in or out of Chennai, remember these air angels working  behind the scene ensuring smooth flight operations. 

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