After a successful round of bidding in the first leg, the government has announced further relaxations in the norms with an eye on attracting more private players participation in the scheme.
As per media reports, the government recently announced new norms under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) to attract more airlines to operate services in Jammu and Kashmir, Northeastern states, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep. The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has relaxed the norms of ‘UDAN’ – Ude Desh Ka AAM Nagrik – or the RCS for these states and union territories. While an RCS airport in priority area can have 14 departures per week, it should be seven for other RCS routes. Besides these states, the MoCA has also included Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as “priority areas”. The aim is to increase the services to these states, whose aviation potential have not been fully utilised.”In the first round, we could not have more services to priority areas. We could have done better. Now, we have learnt from those experiences and have added some facilities,” Civil Aviation Secretary, Rajiv Nayan Choubey, was quoted as having said at a press conference.
To encourage helicopter services under UDAN scheme, the viability gap funding (VGF) has been increased and 10% of the estimated annual inflow in the Regional Connectivity Fund has been earmarked for operations through choppers. The new norms also allow routes with a stage length less than 150 km for operations through fixed wing aircraft. This, the MoCA believes, would enhance connectivity and ease the formation of networks under the scheme. The Ministry expects to announce the names of winners of bidding on November 30.