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Former GCAA boss now ICAO Regional Director

Jun 28, 2011, 1:02 PM

Gambian-born Mam Sait Jallow, former Director General of the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority, GCAA,  has been appointed as Regional Director of the International Civil Aviation Organisation for Western and Central Africa, and is based in Dakar, Senegal, The Point has learned.

Born in the village of Bansang, Central River Region, Mr. Jallow first joined the then Department of Civil Aviation (now Gambia Civil Aviation Authority) in 1980 as an Aeronautical Telecommunications Cadet, and was promoted in 1987 to the position of Electronics Engineer. Between 1992 and 1994 he served as Director of Airport Operations and Planning at Banjul International Airport until his appointment to the post of Director General.

Jallow’s career in civil aviation spans over thirty (30) years, during which he was Director General of Civil Aviation in the Gambia for 7 years before his secondment, from November 2001 to November 2006, to the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja, Nigeria, as Director of a regional project for the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) on air transport liberalization in Africa. Over the years, he has participated in numerous events and activities of various aviation organizations and bodies in Africa and worldwide.

In November 2006, Mr. Jallow was appointed as ICAO Deputy Regional Director at the Dakar duty station, where he served until this most recent development in his career, which makes him the youngest amongst the currently serving Regional Directors of the organization.

The air transport liberalization project he headed from October 2001 to November 2006 was created by the ministers in charge of civil aviation in Western & Central Africa to give technical support to the ECOWAS and CEMAC secretariats for the liberalization of air transport in the two regions.

It involved various air transport sector reforms and capacity building activities in member states in the areas of economic regulation and aviation safety/security oversight. Being a continent-wide initiative, the liberalization of air transport now falls under the new mandate of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) as the Executing Agency for YD.

During his tenure as Director General of GCAA, Mr. Jallow was instrumental in the creation of the Banjul Accord Group and headed its Secretariat for 4 years from its inception in 1997. The Group, comprising Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, has since implemented a cooperative aviation safety project (COSCAP) and was transformed in July 2010, with assistance from ICAO, into one of the first Regional Aviation Safety Oversight Organizations on the continent.

As Director of Airport Operations and Planning at GCAA, he coordinated the preparation of the Banjul International Airport Master Plan and subsequently, as DG, directed project preparation and implementation of various components including the new passenger terminal. During the same period, the GCAA embarked on an aviation safety and security programme under his leadership, which culminated in the signing of an ‘Open Skies’ agreement and the establishment of direct air services between the Gambia and the USA in February 2001. In that same year, Mr. Jallow received an individual achievement Award from the African Aviation Journal for his contribution to the aviation industry in the region. 

By way of academic qualifications, Jallow has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Engineering from Bolton Institute of Technology (England) and a Master of Science degree in Airport Planning & Management from Loughborough University (England). He has undergone, in addition, training in the form of short courses, seminars, workshops, etc in the fields of Management, Operations and Engineering as well as Aviation Security and Safety.

His work as Electronics Engineer, in the early part of his career accorded him post- qualification hands-on experience in the installation, commissioning and maintenance of aeronautical air navigation and communication systems following professional proficiency training at RACAL Avionics (U.K) and WILCOX Electrics (Kansas City, U.S.A)

The ICAO Dakar office is one of seven Regional offices worldwide, and is accredited to the following twenty-four (24) ICAO contracting States in Western and Central Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sao Tome et Principe, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

In promoting implementation of ICAO policies, standards and recommended practices, in line with the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, the regional office works closely with the States it is accredited to, appropriate organizations and civil aviation bodies in the region, by providing guidance and advice as well as technical assistance as may be required for a safe, secure, orderly and efficient development of international civil aviation.