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Govt proposes changes in Udan scheme

DH News Service, New Delhi, May 25 2017, 2:01 IST
 Choubey cited Lucknow-Varanasi as a possible route, saying both cities have functional airports, but there is no service between them. File Photo

Choubey cited Lucknow-Varanasi as a possible route, saying both cities have functional airports, but there is no service between them. File Photo

In a bid to further boost intraregional connectivity, the government is contemplating modifications in the recently launched Udan scheme to allow flights between two unconnected cities even if both have functional airports.

At present, at least one of the destination points should be an unserved or underserved airport to avail the benefits under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), which include Viability Gap Funding, exclusive rights for three years to operate on the route and other concessions.

According to the proposals unveiled at a press conference attended by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and secretary R N Choubey, one of the possible options is to consider a route between two airports, which are neither underserved nor unserved.

Choubey cited Lucknow-Varanasi as a possible route, saying both cities have functional airports, but there is no service between them.

However, the proposal said an airline opting for such a route would not get VGF or exclusive rights for operations.

They will only be permitted concessions provided by the Centre and state governments and airport operators for a year without any airfare cap.

The exercise to find possible changes comes ahead of the second round of bidding under the scheme.
The ministry of civil aviation also proposes to allow flights between two destinations less than 150 km as against the existing ceiling.

Citing that a Bengaluru-Mysuru flight, which is below 150 km, cannot be considered an RCS route under the present rules, Choubey said, “We should allow networking. Some legs may be less than 150 km. For example, we can have a Bengaluru-Mysuru-Tirupati flight. We should not disallow that.”

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