Vikram Dev Dutt was chosen to be the New Director General of the DGCA on Saturday, January 21 by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
On February 28, 2023, he will assume control of the aviation regulatory body. He will take over for current DGCA Director Arun Kumar.
Vikram Dev Dutt, a member of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory) Cadre and a 1993 batch IAS officer, is currently the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Air India Asset Holding Ltd (AIAHL).
Following the retirement of current DGCA Chief Arun Kumar, who had been the aviation regulator since July 2019, the officer will assume his new role on February 28.
Dutt’s appointment will be in the “rank and pay of additional secretary to the Government of India”, and he will take the charge “upon the superannuation of Arun Kumar, IAS by keeping the Recruitment Rules of the post in abeyance,” the release stated.
The previously government-owned airline, Air India, which was sold to the Tata group last year, had Dutt as its Chairman and Managing Director. In January 2022, just days before the takeover agreement went into force, Dutt was appointed as Air India’s CMD.
He was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AIAHL in April. AIAHL is a special-purpose organisation created by the government for the transfer of non-core assets from Air India.
Prior to this, Dutt held a number of positions, including Managing Director of the India Tourism Development Corporation, Principal Secretary for the Delhi Government’s Health and Family Welfare Department, and Principal Secretary for the Government of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ Department of Finance. He also held the positions of Secretary of Tourism for the Goa Government and Secretary of Tourism for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The New Director General was chosen at a time when the DGCA must make several challenging choices regarding how to penalize airlines that violate safety regulations. Following the incident with the urinating passenger on the airline’s aircraft from New York to New Delhi, the aviation regulator recently fined Air India Rs. 30 lakhs and suspended its pilot for three months.
This was the first time the DGCA had fined an airline for an unruly passenger’s behaviour. The Director of In-Flight Services for Air India was also fined Rs. 3 lakhs by the aviation authority for failing to perform his obligations in this regard.
“We respectfully acknowledge the gaps in our reporting and are taking relevant steps to ensure that the same are addressed. We are also strengthening our crews’ awareness of and compliance with policies on handling incidents involving unruly passengers.”–Spokesperson, Air India
Shankar Mishra, the accused, was also prohibited from flying for four months. Mishra declared that the DGCA’s judgement was founded on a false understanding and that he would file an appeal.
“We would particularly like to point out that the Internal Inquiry Committee’s ruling hinges upon their incorrect understanding of the layout of the Aircraft. When the Committee could not find an adequate explanation as to how the accused could have urinated on the complainant sitting on seat 9A without also affecting the passenger on Seat 9C, it has erroneously gone on to assume that there was a seat 9B in the business class in the aircraft.”–Excerpt from the Statement by Lawyers Ishanee Sharma & Akshat Bajpai
The New Director General was selected at a time when the DGCA is facing a number of difficult decisions over how to penalize airlines that disobey safety laws.