The Ministry of Civil Aviation of the Government of India has rolled out the fourth bidding round of the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) — UDAN that will focus on the northeast region, hilly states, the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh along with union territories of Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar.
Usha Padhee, joint secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India tweeted:
UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik means flies the common man of India) is a government initiative to connect India’s under-served and unserved airports to larger metros, and make air travel more affordable for the common man.
Around 700 routes were awarded in the first three rounds of the scheme.
The new scheme features a revised Viability Gap Funding (VGF) cap for these routes, which is essentially a grant to support projects that are economically justified but not financially viable.
Round four will also promote short-haul routes, under which VGF will be restricted to only those routes with stage length (distance a plane covers from takeoff to landing in a single leg) up to 600 km.
Another key aspect is that priority for awarding VGF will be given to airports, already been developed by the government under the regional connectivity scheme, followed by airports located in the priority areas and then airports located in regions other than that.
In addition to this, the selected airline operator for the route will also be allowed to change the frequency of flight operations during the prescribed tenure.
The operation of helicopter and sea plane will also be enabled under this round.