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Government awards 128 air routes under Regional Connectivity Scheme

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In a bid to make the ‘Regional Connectivity Scheme’ operational; Civil Aviation Ministry has selected 27 proposals from 5 airlines to operate 128 routes across the country, connecting 31 unconnected airports. It added that first regional flight under UDAN scheme will start operating from April 2017

The five selected airlines are:

Airline OperatorNumber of ProposalsNumber of ‘Regional Connectivity Scheme’ Routes
Air Deccan434
Air Odisha550
Alliance Air815
TruJet (Turbo Megha Airways)418

Of the above five airlines, Air Deccan, Air Odisha and TruJet will have to apply to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for Airline Operator Permit (AOP) under scheduled commuter category. However since TruJet already has Regional Operator Licence, it will get AOP much sooner than other two.

  • BS Bhullar, Director General of DGCA has mentioned that Directorate has formed committees which will ensure that operator get the AOP within 4 months.
  • Bhatinda and Shimla will be the first towns to be connected, wherein the regional flight is expected to start operating from April 2017. Other small towns will be gradually connected by the end of September 2017.

Civil Aviation sector in India:

Air passenger traffic registered a remarkable 26% growth in the year 2016. Steady rise in per capita income of Indian masses has been the main cause attributed to this growth. In order to leverage this demand Civil Aviation Ministry had launched the UDAN scheme.

About UDAN Scheme:

  • Civil Aviation Ministry launched Regional Connectivity Scheme ‘UDAN’ in October 2016.
  • Abbreviation UDAN stands for – ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik’.
  • It is aimed towards making flying a reality for common people residing in Tier-II and Tier-Regional Connectivity SchemeIII towns, and thereby developing the regional aviation market.
  • Under UDAN, any interested airline operator has to select the un-connected regional route on which it intends to provide the flight service. For this route it has to allocate 9 – 40 seats on fixed wing aircraft or 5-13 seats on helicopter for UDAN scheme, which will be available for passengers at the proportionate rate of Rs. 2500 for 500 kms (for aircraft) and Rs. 2500 for 30 minutes (for helicopter).
  • Thereafter it has to bid for Viability Gap Funding, VGF (financial assistance) per seat. The airline operator bidding the lowest value will get exclusive rights to operate on that route along with VGF for three years. The VGF will comprise of subsidy as well as tax concessions from central and state Govt.
  • The UDAN scheme will be in operation for 10 years.

Expected Benefit from this move:

Besides reducing travel time to Tier-II, Tier-III cities and hilly region, this move will facilitate in attracting investments and developing tourism industry in these areas. It will also result in direct jobs creation.

  • Industry expert Amber Dubey believes that collaborations between UDAN flight operators and national carriers will propel India’s dream to become the largest civil aviation market in the world by year 2030.