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March 22, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
WOW MAGAZINE | 5
By Bavina Sookdeo
Photo by Richard Cook
"I'VE COME TO BELIEVE that each of us
has a personal calling that's as unique as
a fingerprint -- and that the best way to
succeed is to discover what you love and
then find a way to offer it to others in the
form of service, working hard and also al-
lowing the energy of the universe to lead
This is exactly what Meera Ragoo has done.
Ragoo, a senior Air Traffic Controller em-
ployed with Trinidad and Tobago Civil Avia-
tion Authority (TTCAA) for 15 years, is an
independent, strong and ambitious young
woman, as asserted by TTCAA's Director
General, Ramesh Lutchmedial.
The air traffic controller's primary concern is
safety. They ensure that all aboard an air-
craft are safe and arrive at their destination
with minimum delays. They manage the
flow of aircraft into and out of airport air-
space, guide pilots during take-off and land-
ing, and monitor aircraft as they travel
through the skies.
Ragoo performs her duties in an ultra-mod-
ern Air Traffic Control Centre and Tower,
with advanced technology equipment for
communication, navigation and surveillance.
The Centre is responsible for separating
hundreds of aircraft daily in 750,000 square
miles of airspace that stretches half way
across the Atlantic Ocean.
Ragoo holds an Air Traffic Control license
with authorisation from the Director General
of TTCAA to perform duties at Piarco Inter-
national Airport (TTPP) and ANR Robinson
International Airport (TTCP) Aerodrome,
Approach, En-route and Oceanic Air Traffic
Control. In addition, she is an Air Traffic In-
structor in Approach Radar, En-route Radar
and Oceanic Control.
Why choose such a field? "I was always fas-
cinated with aeroplanes and things to do
with the air." So why not become a pilot? "I'm
afraid of heights," she laughingly responded.
While she loves her job, she admits that
there are several challenges. "Shift hours, as
opposed to a regular day job, can be chal-
lenging at times when it comes to family and
social life especially around Carnival time."
She explained that no one questions the or-
ders of an Air Traffic Controller, and some-
times this authoritativeness may find its
way into a relationship, causing challenges.
"Do you know that the divorce rate is highest
in this profession?" she asked. "Due to the
shift work, and again that authoritativeness,
one faces several challenges when it comes
The rewards, however, outweigh the chal-
lenges. What does she get from this job,
which requires a tremendous amount of
multi-tasking, intelligence and accuracy? "A
great sense of self-satisfaction when the job
gets done safely and efficiently because of
the huge responsibilities involved," said Meera.
Being a career woman requires a great deal
of commitment and time management, but
Ragoo, who believes in the equality of the
sexes, manages her life well, and insists that
"being an Air Traffic Controller enhances time
management and multitasking skills."
Several decades ago, this field was a male
dominated one, but Ragoo pointed out that it
has changed gradually, with TTCAA having
more female supervisors in the Piarco and
Robinson Aerodrome Towers, and an increas-
ing number of female Air Traffic Controllers
in Radar Control. I had the pleasure of meet-
ing and interacting with Ragoo's peers and it
was clear that at the TTCAA equality is of
As for if she is treated differently by her male
counterparts Ragoo --- whose role model is
Michelle Obama --- insisted that she is not.
She did admit, however, that room for growth
in the field locally is a bit limited due to avail-
ability and processes involved.
The Air Traffic Controller disclosed that she
has many people to thank for who she is
today. "I would like to thank the Almighty and
my family for the love and support. Thanks to
the Chairman and Board of TTCAA. Special
thanks to the Director General, Mr. Ramesh
Lutchmedial, for his support and vision as we
pave the way for aviation professionals in the
region. Many thanks to my female counter-
parts who have all contributed to the growth
of women in Air Traffic Control in Trinidad and
Tobago and to the many women out there
who have contributed to Aviation globally."
So does Ragoo have any regrets getting into
field, and what would she change about her
job if given the opportunity? She insisted "I
have no regrets, and there is nothing one can
change about a great job like Air Traffic Con-
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