Centre launches UDAN 4.0: JK likely to get affordable air connectivity
Srinagar, Dec 3: Centre
Tuesday launched the fourth round of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)
meant to stimulate air connectivity in an affordable way, which is a part of
its plan to operationalize over 100 airports in smaller towns and cities over
the next five years.
The focus of the fourth round of RCS will be bringing
connectivity to priority areas like North East India, Jammu and Kashmir,
Ladakh, hilly states in others parts of the country, and islands, the ministry
of civil aviation (MoCA) said in a statement on Tuesday.
Under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), also known as
UDAN or UdeDeshkaAamNaagrik, airlines
compete to win subsidies for operating flights linking small airports with
bigger ones. The scheme, launched in October 2017, is now in its fourth phase.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation said in the statement that it
has enhanced the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) provision for category 2/3
aircraft (more than 20 seaters) for operations in priority areas like Ladakh,
Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, North East India, Lakshadweep
and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
“The VGF cap applicable for various stage lengths for
operation through category 1 / 1 A aircraft (aircraft with less than 20 seats)
has also been revised to further incentivize the operation of small aircraft
under the Scheme,” the ministry said in the statement.
“The operation of helicopter and sea plane would be
allowed under this round,” it added.
At present, only 232 routes across 43 cities and towns of
the 688 routes awarded to connect 137 small cities under the RCS scheme remains
The government is also promoting short-haul routes under the
latest bidding round of the scheme.
The provision of VGF would be restricted for routes with
stage length up to 600 kms, for operation of aircraft with more than 20 seats,
beyond it no monetary support would be provided, the ministry of civil aviation
said in the statement.
It added that the government is making efforts to develop
airports and operationalize the routes that were auctioned during the previous
rounds of RCS scheme but has since then remain un-operational.
“Many of these routes will be operationalized during
the winter schedule 2019,” it added.