The new year will usher in a change of guard in the civil aviation ministry with Prabhat Kumar, joint secretary in the ministry, set to assume additional charge as Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Ashok Lavasa (special secretary, power ministry) taking charge as civil aviation secretary.
The government on Tuesday additionally granted a three-month extension to V P Agrawal, chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI).
Kumar succeeds Arun Mishra, a 1986-batch IAS officer who is expected to join the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as regional director for Asia-Pacific in January. Mishra would replace Pakistani diplomat Mokhtar Awan at the ICAO regional office. Kumar is a 1985-batch IAS officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre.
Shortage of staff in senior positions in DGCA has been one of the reasons raised by FAA in audits carried out in September and December 2013. In its technical wing, the DGCA is yet to fill positions of two joint directors-general, five deputy directors-general and over 100 directors, deputy directors and assistant directors. The DGCA was also found short of flight operations inspectors.
Lavasa will take over from K N Shrivastava who retired on Tuesday. An IAS officer from the 1980 batch of the Haryana cadre, Lavasa was appointed civil aviation secretary by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on December 23.
Lavasa, who has two Master of Arts degrees and an MBA to his credit, had earlier served in various capacities in the ministries of power and home affairs. He has also served as the Resident Commissioner of Haryana in Delhi.