Regional Connectivity Scheme Current Affairs

Government eases norms under UDAN Scheme

The Union Civil Aviation Ministry has eased several norms of Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN), a flagship regional flying scheme to attract more airlines and helicopter operators to participate in regional connectivity scheme (RCS).

The new norms were announced when the process for second round of bidding for the RCS were announced.  .  The winners of the second round of bidding will be announced by November 2017.

Key Facts

The relaxations of the norms include dilution of the exclusivity clause mandating that only one airline may fly on one route in the initial years. It will allow selected airline operator of a particular route may issue no-objection certificate (NOC) to other airlines who want to operate on the selected RCS route.

The norms restricting two airports in close proximity from participating in the bidding also has been relaxed. It will allow routes with a stage length less than 150 km for operations through fixed wing aircraft.

About Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) Scheme

The UDAN Scheme aims at providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through revival of existing airstrips and airports. It aims to develop the regional aviation market and make flying affordable. It is applicable on flights which cover between 200 km and 800 km. The distance limit is lower limit for hilly, remote, island and security sensitive regions. It reserves minimum number of UDAN seats i.e. seats at subsidized rates and also cap the fare for short distance flights. It has a unique market-based model to develop regional connectivity.

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PM launches UDAN Scheme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme from Jubbarhatti, an airport on the outskirts of Shimla. ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’ means ‘the common man flies’. He flagged of the first UDAN flight under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) on Shimla-Delhi sector. UDAN flights on Kadapa–Hyderabad, and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors were also flagged off.

Salient Highlights

Around 45 unserved and under-served airports are set to be connected under UDAN scheme to make flying more affordable. The airports to be connected under UDAN include Bhatinda, Bhavnagar, Durgapur, Jaisalmer, Puducherry, and Shimla.

Under this scheme, five operators will operate flights services on 128 routes that will connect 70 airports through 19-78 seater aircrafts. The operators are Air India subsidiary Airline Allied Services, Air Deccan, Air Odisha, Turbo Megha, and Spice Jet.

As per the modalities of the scheme, airfare for a one-hour journey of 500 km has been capped at an all-inclusive charge of Rs. 2,500. For longer routes and flight duration, the pricing will vary. A single person will be entitled to buy 9 to 40 seats in a flight. However, only 50% of the seats will be sold at Rs 2500 per seat per hour. The airlines can sell the rest of the tickets at market rates.

Significance

UDAN scheme will make flying easier and affordable for the common man. It is hailed as the first-of-its-kind scheme globally to stimulate regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism. UDAN network will cover the whole country. Accordingly, 24 airports in the western region, 17 airports in the northern region, 11 in the southern region, 12 in east and 6 in north-eastern parts of the country are proposed to be connected under UDAN. The scheme is expected to have positive effects on the economy in terms of employment and investment. The scheme will also promote tourism and balanced regional growth.

UDAN

The ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik’ RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme) was launched in October 2016. It is considered as a vital component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released on June 15, 2016.

The scheme has been launched to provide connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through revival of existing air-strips and airports. This is first of its kind scheme and will be implemented for a period of 10 years. As of now, 128 routes have been identified and declared in the RCS map of India. The key objective of the UDAN scheme is to provide regional connectivity so that persons in regional towns are able to take affordable flights.

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