Ministry of Civil Aviation Current Affairs

UDAN Phase-II: 325 routes awarded; 40% for North East, hills

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has awarded 325 air routes under the second phase of government’s flagship UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik) regional connectivity scheme. Around 40% or 129 of 325 air routes were awarded to newly created category of ‘priority areas’ that include Jammu and Kashmir, Northeastern and hill states, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands,

Key Facts

The routes under phase-II were awarded to 15 airlines and helicopter operators after bidding process. These include major domestic airlines such as SpiceJet, IndiGo, Jet Airways and Air India subsidiary Alliance Air and four helicopter operators — Heligo Charters, Heritage Aviation, Pawan Hans, and Skyone Airways

Airports to be connected under phase-II: Total 78 airports i.e. 36 served airports, 13 underserved airports and 29 unserved airports will be connected. In addition, 31 helipads/ heliports will be connected through Helicopters in priority areas.

Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Outflow: These proposed routes will get VGF estimated at Rs. 487 crores per annum for fixed wing operations and Rs. 130 crores for Helicopter operations per annum in the Priority areas. The government provides VGF or subsidy for 50% of seats set aside for being offered at discounted rates by airlines and all seats up to 13 passenger seats for helicopters.

UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik) Scheme

The UDAN RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme) was launched in October 2016 to develop the regional aviation market. It is vital component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP), 2016.

It also aims to make flying affordable by providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through revival of existing airstrips and airports so that persons in regional towns are able to take affordable flights.

It is applicable on flights covering distance between 200 km and 800 km with no lower limit set for hilly, remote, island and security sensitive regions. It seeks to reserve a minimum number of UDAN seats i.e. seats at subsidized rates and also cap fare for short distance flights. It has unique market-based model to develop regional connectivity. It has Viability Gap Funding (VDF) mechanism to meet the VGF requirements under the scheme. Airports Authority of India (AAI) is implementing agency of the scheme.

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Draft Rules for No Fly List for Banning Unruly Passengers Unveiled

The government has released draft rules for a ‘no-fly list’ for banning unruly passengers. The Ministry of Civil Aviation had set up a committee to come up with the final draft of the new set of rules. The new rules would be opened for public comments for a period of one month. After receiving comments, the civil aviation ministry would study the comments and then will release the final Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR).

Salient Highlights

The government has come up with three levels of disruptions for flyers:

Level 1

Disruptive behaviour such as physical gestures. The unruly passenger would be suspended from flying for a time period of three months.

Level 2

Physically abusive behaviour and sexual harassment. The passenger would be suspended from flying for a time period of six months.

Level 3

Murderous assault or life-threatening behaviour as well as causing damage to aircraft operating systems would invite suspension from flying for a time period of 2 years or more.

The above punishments would be applicable to the domestic carriers but the international airlines can also make use of these inputs if they want to.

Background

The draft rules come at the backdrop of an assault of Air India employee by Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad in March. The existing Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) specify the steps that need to be taken to deal with unruly passengers. However, those rules are silent about the creation of a no-fly list. So, the existing Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) are being amended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

In the year 2015 alone, around 10,854 incidents of unruly behaviour by passengers have been reported worldwide.

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