First Woman To Become DGCA :
M Sathiyavathy, an Additional Secretary and Financial Advisor to the Civil Aviation Ministry, will be heading Directorate General of Civil Aviation at a time when the regulator’s safety mechanism has been downgraded.
56-year-old Sathiyavathy, who will succeed Prabhat Kumar, will be the first woman to become the chief aviation regulator.
Sathiyavathi is a 1982-batch UT cadre IAS officer, will remain DGCA for three years till 2017 initially.
Prabhat Kumar, a 1985-batch UP cadre IAS officer, was appointed only this January as DGCA by the erstwhile UPA regime for a three-year tenure. He had earlier served in the Civil Aviation Ministry from 2012 as a Joint Secretary.
Kumar has completed his central deputation period and is slated to revert to his parent UP cadre unless decided otherwise by the government.
Sathiyavathy was appointed as Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser in the Ministry in place of S Machendranathan this February.
The change of guard at DGCA comes at a time when India’s aviation safety ranking has been downgraded and is up for review in early 2015.
The US aviation watchdog, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had downgraded the safety ranking from top category-I to category-II and brought it below Pakistan and on par with countries like Ghana, Barbados and Bangladesh on January 31, this year.
An FAA team visited India early this month to reassess the safety mechanism. The team is likely to submit a report by January 15, next year.
A final decision on whether India would get back its top class ranking is expected to be taken up by March.
The Airports Authority of India and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security are also awaiting full-time heads. The government is looking for a new Air India Chairman as incumbent Rohit Nandan has completed his tenure and is currently on extension.