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UAE gets first woman air traffic control officer

Abu Dhabi: After a three-year training programme, 22-year-old Noufa Al Afeefi is today the first Emirati woman to become a UAE Air Traffic Control Area Officer.

"I have always been fascinated by large planes in the sky since I was a little child, and I always dreamed of flying aboard one of them. After graduation, I pursued this dream more seriously, with the Air Traffic field, which came in line with my realisation of the high [complexity] of the global aviation sector and the relevant challenges. This made me even more determined, and I knew that was the career I wanted to assume," said Noufa.

Dominated by men

She said the field has always been dominated by men and noted the fact that she is the first UAE woman to apply and at the young age of 22. The biggest challenge was working on different shifts on different days. Another, she said, was live training, which allows no room for error.

"We at the General Civil Aviation Authority have set key fundamentals to encourage nationals to join [the] GCAA and work in its various departments, as we believe that the sector needs the support of nationals to realise its great potential for a promising future, thanks to the great growth rates and performance improvements," said Saif Mohammad Al Suwaidi, Director General of the GCAA.

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