Meet Mariama Jallow: Gambia’s first female air traffic controller

Oct 5, 2021, 11:15 AM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

The nature and set up of some communities have given rise to widely held stereotypes associated with certain jobs in terms of equal representation between male and their female counterparts. Well, one Mariama Jallow is about to defy the odds, as she has become The Gambia’s first trained female air traffic controller.

In a recent media interview, Mariama told journalists that The Gambia was without a female air traffic controller prior to her training.

As air traffic controller, she explained that they provide safety to aircraft landing and taking off at Banjul International Airport.

“As an air traffic control officer, you have to be very vigilant and careful in whatever you do because all those  lives in that aircraft depend entirely on you. So a slight mistake can cause a plane crash.”

The Gambian female air traffic controller obtained her air traffic control training in Ghana in 2017. She highlighted that the job does not go with stress because the lives of people in every aircraft depend on the controller.

She further said that one has to leave any stress at home as the job requires one’s full attention, concentration as well as open mind.

“We have two frequencies at the control tower, and the most important one is the weather, which you will pass to the aircraft team when the aircraft is coming into The Gambia because these are recorded, so anything you do is on record,” she also said.

She thanked The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority for the support as a woman on the job.

Mamadou Bah, director of Air Control Services, Banjul International Airport, said they provide services to aircrafts when they are coming to land and when they are about to depart, until they leave our air space.