It was a fascination with flight that led Miss Chua Sin Ying to join the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

She says: “The aviation industry is dynamic, competitive and globalised; it is one of the apexes of human achievement. Barriers in distance and time can be overcome through advancements in aviation.”

Miss Chua’s interest in CAAS was sparked in secondary school, and she applied for the CAAS Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship after junior college.

This scholarship seeks to groom future CAAS leaders to shape the future of the civil aviation industry. It covers the scholar’s tertiary education, tuition and compulsory fees, and also includes monthly allowances during the school term for living and rental expenses.

The bond period is six years for an overseas study and four years for a local degree.

Dedicated pursuit

Miss Chua started work at CAAS in June last year, after completing her Master of Arts in Economics from Boston University in the United States. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

The 23-year-old is currently a deputy manager in the air traffic management operations planning (ATMOP) section, within the air traffic services division.

ATMOP ensures the safety and efficiency of air traffic operations within the Singapore Flight Information Region by planning and managing airspace utilisation.

Its responsibilities include air traffic management (ATM) capacity planning and demand management, operations performance monitoring, and partnership building with stakeholders.

Even though Miss Chua is new to her role, she has settled in quickly. CAAS provides its scholars early exposure to its diverse functions through ample predeparture activities, exposure opportunities and internships.

During her summer breaks, Miss Chua underwent two internship stints with different divisions at CAAS, which gave her more knowledge of what her job was and helped her to select the right modules and extra-curricular activities at school.

She enrolled in numerous industrial and transport economics modules, and conducted academic research on aviation. Her undergraduate dissertation was on aviation economics.

As an intern, Miss Chua also got to converse with a wide range of stakeholders, such as air traffic control officers, pilots, ground handlers, entrepreneurs and engineers.

She says: “We were all from different walks of life, but shared a connection through our unique passion for aviation.

“Meeting people personally dedicated to growing the local aviation scene was an inspiring experience for me.”

Rising to the fore

Miss Chua’s work in ATMOP exposes her to a wide variety of roles and functions.

Aside from planning and analysing ATM, her team also has to engage air traffic control units, neighbouring air navigation service providers and other government agencies on day-to-day operations.

As a new CAAS officer, Miss Chua says she is fortunate that she gets to attend bilateral and multilateral talks with foreign civil aviation authorities and international organisations.

She says: “I developed a deep appreciation for the interdependency between Singapore and our neighbouring countries.

“It is essential for us to maintain and nurture close ties with our neighbouring counterparts to achieve safe and efficient air travel in the region.”

Miss Chua also got to participate in the Primary Air Traffic Control course, part of the essential preliminary training for air traffic control. She was excited at getting to practise using Singapore’s state-of-the-art ATM system (the Long Range Radar and Display System III; or LORADS III) for the first time.

With increasing challenges, such as burgeoning air traffic volumes and competitive pressures from other countries, Miss Chua believes safeguarding and growing Singapore’s aviation sector is crucial.

She says: “Aviation enables the interconnectivity that is essential to the survival of our country, and generates tremendous economic and social spillover effects that are often overlooked.”