Air connectivity to reach Kargil soon as govt announces routes under UDAN
Eleven fixed-wing operators have been granted rights for 67 routes and four helicopter operators have been awarded 23 routes.india Updated: Jan 24, 2018 23:02 IST
From Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir to Pakyong in Sikkim, several far-off places in various states will soon be connected with the major cities as part of the central government’s ambitious UDAN initiative, also knows as the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).
Announcing the new routes, the civil aviation ministry on Wednesday released details of its second round of the RCS, which will, in a first, also fund the helicopter services.
Aviation secretary RN Choubey said 78 airports — including 36 served, 13 underserved and 29 unserved — will be connected. In addition, 31 helipads/heliports will be connected through helicopters in priority areas of north east, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep.
“It is expected the fixed wing aircraft proposals will provide around 26.5 lakh RCS seats per annum. Around two lakh RCS seats are expected to be provided through helicopter operations.”
Cities like Hubli in Karnataka will get connected to nine different cities in the state, Kannur in Kerala to eight cities and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh will find connectivity to 13 cities.
The fare for an hour-long journey of 500km on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30-minute journey on a helicopter would be capped at Rs2,500, with proportionate pricing for routes of different stage lengths/flight duration. The selected operator will have to provide 50% of the flight capacity as RCS seats through fixed wing aircraft and a maximum of 13 RCS seats through helicopters.
Selected airline operator would be allowed to exclusively operate for three years. To reduce the cost of operation of airlines on flying such routes, a financial stimulus in the form of concessions from central and state governments, airport operators and the viability gap funding to the interested airlines would be provided to kick-start operations from such airports, so that the fares remain affordable.