• 11 bidders, 45 initial proposals for regional air services

    Eleven bidders have submitted 45 initial proposals covering more than 200 Regional Connectivity Scheme routes under the UDAN scheme which seeks to encourage common people to fly.

    “The initial proposals cover 65 airports, of which 52 are unserved and 13 underserved,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a statement. January 16 was the last date for submission of initial proposals for operations under the UDAN scheme.


    An airport at which there are no more than seven scheduled commercial flight departures a week is termed as an underserved airport while an ‘unserved airport’ is one at which there have been no scheduled commercial flights during the last two flight schedules approved by the DGCA.

    Globally, airlines follow a summer and winter schedule, with the summer schedule running from the last Sunday in March to the last Saturday in October. The winter schedule runs from the last Sunday in October till the last Saturday in March of the following year.

    The Ministry’s attempts to get the common man to fly at low rates is unlikely to take off before March or later this year as the last date of submission for counter bids for the initial proposals is February 1.

    Officials indicated that apart from operators importing aircraft, it has to be ensured that the airports are operational, and the flights have to be marketed.

    List of airports
    All this is likely to take a few months. An operator is allowed 90 days from the time the route is awarded to launch flights.

    In October last year, while announcing the Regional Connectivity Scheme, the Ministry of Civil Aviation in its RCS document gave a tentative list of 16 underserved airports/airstrips in the country, which included Aggati in Lakshadweep Islands, Car Nicobar (Andaman Islands) and Bhavnagar (Gujarat).

    It also gave a tentative list of 398 airports/airstrips that were unserved. They included 13 in Karnataka, 12 in Tamil Nadu, including Vellore, Tambaram, Salem, Hosur and Chettinad, and one in Kerala (Chillari). The routes or networks will be awarded to the bidders who quote the lowest requirement for the viability gap funding (VGF) against such routes. To be able to seek this subsidy, an operator has to price its tickets for a one-hour journey of approximately 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30-minute journey on a helicopter capped at ?2,500. Ty Rattie Womens Jersey

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