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Published On: Fri, Oct 21st, 2016

Regional air connectivity scheme launched

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airconnectivity_3052805fNEW DELHI :The Government kick-started the regional air connectivity scheme on Friday by inviting submission of initial proposals from operators to fly to airports which do not have regular flights now.

Operators have a six week window (till December 2) to submit their initial proposals. The Government will take two to three days to scrutinise the proposals and the entire process is likely to take 10 weeks to complete.

“We hope to have the first flight (under RCS) by January. I am cautiously optimistic about it,” Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Minister of Civil Aviation said at the launch of the scheme.Government today launched the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN- Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik, which seeks to get more people to fly in the smaller towns.

Raju while launching the scheme said the scheme is expected to be rolled out by January. He said cabinet had taken a decision on civil aviation policy four months back and regional connectivity was a major component of it. Mr Raju said growth rate in civil aviation is encouraging.

Minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha said the scheme will make costs of flying lower to serve underserved and other routes. Speaking to AIR exclusively minister said it is a deepavali gift for common people.

Secretary civil aviation Rajiv Nayan Choubey said the scheme entails support from central and state Goverments, as well as airport operators. He said his ministry wants to add 50 more airports and connect them to bigger cities and towns in next four years.

Mr Choubey said UDAN aims to increase ticketing volume from 80 million to 300 million by 2022. Under the scheme, airlines will have complete freedom to enter into code sharing with larger airlines for connectivity and they will be exempted from various airport charges. Airlines will get exclusive rights for three years to fly on a particular regional route.

Airfares will be capped at 2,500 rupees for an hour’s flight for regional flights. It is a unique market-based mechanism to develop regional connectivity, under which Airlines will bid for seat subsidies.They will bid for up to 40 subsidised seats and minimum seats will be 9. There will be 50 percent seats on market based pricing.

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