NEW DELHI: The civil aviation ministry has recommended Mr Prabhat Kumar, a joint secretary in the ministry, as the next Director General of Civil Aviation, two persons familiar with the development said. The move comes four days before incumbent Mr Arun Mishra retires and amid fears of a possible downgrade of the Indian aviation safety oversight system by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). “The appointment will have to be approved by the ACC (Appointments Committee of Cabinet), which will take it up in the next couple of days,” one of the persons said. “We expect the appointment to be confirmed by December 31.” Mr Mishra, a 1986-batch IAS officer, is expected to join the International Civil Aviation Organisation as regional director for Asia Pacific in January. Mr Kumar is a 1985-batch IAS officer. Some experts, however, see no reason for haste in filling up the position. “Rather than filling up the post in a hurry, the joint director-general should hold the post and there should be a proper committee searching for a qualified DG,” said Mr Shakti Lumba, an independent aviation consultant. “It should be retired air marshals of the air force, and if it is a bureaucrat, the person should have at least five years experience.” Shortage of staff at senior positions in the DGCA was one of the main concerns raised by the FAA during a safety audit in September. At the time, the FAA had hauled up the DGCA for 33 deficiencies, most of which related to upgrading regulations and manuals. 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. These deficiencies prompted the FAA to carry out another audit between December 11 and 13.