UDAN: Govt relaxes norms for second round of bidding

UDAN: Govt relaxes norms for second round of bidding
The government on Thursday unveiled new norms under regional connectivity scheme to attract more airlines to operate services in Jammu and Kashmir, north-eastern states, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
Besides these states, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has also included Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as "priority areas". The aim is to increase the services to these states, whose aviation potential at present have not been fully utilised.
The MoCA has relaxed the norms of 'UDAN' 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.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the scheme is being liberalised and the focus would be on priority areas.
"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 told a press conference. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha was also present.
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.
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 second round of bidding RCS routes started on Thursday and the Ministry expects to announce the names of winners of bidding on November 30.

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