• Regional Connectivity Scheme: Centre plans to bid out routes to participating airlines this month

    In order to ensure that the first flight under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) takes off from January next year, the government plans to bid out the routes to participating airlines later this month. The Ministry of Civil Aviation will unveil the final RCS policy by mid-October after which it will invite bids from the airlines wanting to fly on regional routes, civil aviation secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey said.
    The bids for routes will be on “reverse auction” basis, he told The Indian Express. This means an airline quoting the lowest amount of subsidy would get the right to fly on a particular route. Apart from bidding out a pair of routes, the government will also auction a network of routes. The Centre has already signed memorandum of understanding with states including Gujarat, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh among other for the RCS. It signed an MoU with Puducherry on Friday for implementing RCS in the state.
    The Centre has proposed to cap fares at Rs 2,500 for a one-hour flight under the RCS. Airlines operating under the RCS will get viability gap funding and a host of other benefits such as lowers taxes and airport charges to promote regional connectivity. The government has already notified setting up of a Regional Air Connectivity Fund for providing viability gap funding to aircraft operators. The Centre will share 80 per cent of the cost of viability gap funding while the states will share the remaining 20 per cent. B.J. Goodson Jersey

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