Maryam Yania – Senior First Officer at Trans Maldivian Airways

Maryam Yania is a Senior First Officer at Trans Maldivian Airways, World’s Largest Seaplane Operator.

Yania talks to us about her career as a woman in aviation and shares her experiences that could inspire and motivate women to break through gender barriers and pursue their dreams.

Tell us about yourself and how you began your career.

As a kid, I loved the rush that came over me whenever the aircraft took off. It was probably what caught my interest in the first place. I finished high school, took a gap year and joined flying school. This is my first job and I’ve been working at Trans Maldivian Airways for the past 2 years. 

Who or what has been your biggest motivation?

I think what primarily drives me in any aspect of life, be it professional or personal, is my desire to be better and do better than what I was yesterday. Constantly growing and learning with every experience. Staying curious is pretty rewarding.  Another thing that motivates me would be the people around me at work. 

Tell us about a typical day in your life as a seaplane pilot.

My alarm goes off at 4 am as I have to report by 5:30 am if it’s the earliest departure which is 6 am. I fly from dusk till dawn. When it’s high season it’s always rush hour at TMA. 12 hours feel like 6 hours on those days, because I don’t realise how fast the time flies. On the other hand, when things are slow at work in the low season, everyone relaxed. The air is less tense.

How has your experience been in the industry so far? Have you had any challenges being a female pilot in a male-dominated industry, and how do you navigate them?

My experience has been very good. What I’ve noticed in the past two years is that, if you’re good at your job people will appreciate you regardless of your gender. Whenever there’s a challenge I try to face it head-on. I don’t let it get to me. I try to find a solution/a way around it.

What is the best part about your job?

This is a given; flying. What makes it even better is the view. The fact that we fly at such low altitudes over the Maldives. I mean, I see dolphins when I look out the window some days. It’s kinda cool. 

What is your biggest personal achievement so far?

My first big achievement will be becoming a captain. 

Can you share your experiences on how you could inspire and encourage women to pursue careers in aviation?

Being an only child, my family wasn’t thrilled with the idea of me flying. Convincing them wasn’t easy but I knew I would regret it later in life if I had chosen another career path. If you want to pursue a career in aviation, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Drown out the noise. Go after what you want and don’t stop until you achieve it. Don’t be afraid to dream a little. The sky is not the limit. 

What advice would you give out to aspiring pilots?

You will face challenges and it won’t be an easy ride but it will be all worth it at the end when you’re up in the sky.  Also, do proper research when you’re deciding on a flying school. 

How do you envision the role of women in the aviation industry evolving in the future?

I would like to see more girls working in different fields of the aviation industry. Hopefully, the young generation (girls) will feel more welcome and feel like this is an industry where they belong to close the gender gap in aviation. A future where they wouldn’t shy out and stand tall with confidence, shoulder to shoulder with men.