New Delhi, January 1: India’s first women chief of aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) M. Sathiyavathy took charge on Thursday from erstwhile incumbent Prabhat Kumar. According to a civil aviation ministry official, the 1982–batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Union Territories (UT) cadre will head DGCA for three years till 2017. However, Sathiyavathy might have to relinquish her DGCA charge, as she is due to be elevated to Secretary–level later this year. Sathiyavathy had served as additiol secretary and fincial advisor in the ministry since Jan 30 2014. Before that she had served as Puducherry’s chief secretary. The ministry official further said, that the Prabhat Kumar, a 1985 batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, will revert to his home state.
He had joined the civil aviation ministry in 2012 as an officer on special duty to then aviation minister Ajit Singh. Prabhat Kumar had been appointed DGCA chief in January 2014, for a three–year term.
Sathiyavathy’s appointment comes as the DGCA is trying to regain from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) its Category–I safety status from the downgraded category–II. On January 31 2014, the FAA had downgraded India’s safety rankings and brought it on par with countries like Bangladesh, Barbados, Gha and Nicaragua. The downgrade had hit operations of the Indian passenger carriers like Air India and Jet Airways which fly directly to the US, as their aircraft had to undergo additiol safety checks and stringent scrutiny before entering US airspace. (IANS)