NEW DELHI: The invitation to apply for the chairman’s post at airport regulator Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) has seen higher than usual interest with the country’s top bureaucrats applying for the postretirement job that comes along with a five-year tenure.
Responding to the aviation ministry’s call, senior bureaucrats such as Finance Secretary AN Jha have even applied for the job Other bureaucrats who have applied for the post include DG of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation BS Bhullar, former DGCA DG Prabhat Kumar, currently posted as additional chief secretary in Uttar Pradesh, and Pawan Hans chairman and managing director BP Sharma.
The post of AERA chairman gets vacant in March after current incumbent S Machendranathan’s term ends the same month, next year. While Jha and Sharma retire in January next year, Kumar retires from service in April next year and Bhullar retires in May next year.
AERA chairperson post is open for retired and serving officials with experience in aviation and financial sector and offers a fiveyear term, or job till 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.
AERA chairman gets a fixed pay of Rs 4,50,000 per month but is not entitled to any other facility such as housing and vehicle from the government.
AERA is an airport regulator created in 2009 with its headquarters in Delhi, and decides on airport charges at all major airports across the ountry. The regulator was created after the government allowed private companies to own airport with the privatisation of airports in Delhi and Mumbai.
While the government will be able to fill the post of at AERA, a lot of vacancies will be created with retirements within the aviation ministry and in PSUs under the ministry.
With aviation secretary RN Choubey retiring in January next year, and is set to move to Union Public Service Commission as member, the post will become vacant and the government has not announced a replacement yet.
All three PSUs — Airports Authority of India (AAI), Air India and Pawan Hans Ltd — are set to become headless in the coming months. While Pawan Hans CMD retires in January, AI CMD Pradeep Singh Kharola and AAI chairman GP Mohapatra have been promoted as secretaries in the government of India and are awaiting transfers.
While the aviation ministry plans to get a professional management for Air India that includes getting a CEO from outside of the government, there has been no movement on that front. The government has not yet started the process of selecting a new chairman for AAI.