Prime Min­is­ter launches UDAN — from Shimla

SP's Aviation - - REGIONAL AVIATION RCS -

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi launched UDAN — the Re­gional Con­nec­tiv­ity Scheme (RCS) for civil avi­a­tion — from Shimla Air­port on April 27, 2017. Un­der this scheme, flights have be­gun from Shimla, Nanded and Kadapa air­ports.

The Prime Min­is­ter ad­dressed the gath­er­ing at Shimla Air­port, and also at Nanded and Kadapa via video link.

He said the lives of the mid­dle class are be­ing trans­formed, and their as­pi­ra­tions are ris­ing. He said that given the right chance, they can do won­ders. He added that the avi­a­tion sec­tor in In­dia is filled with op­por­tu­nity. Men­tion­ing the scheme name ‘ Ude Desh ka Aam Naa­grik’ (UDAN) — he said that avi­a­tion was once con­sid­ered the do­main of a se­lect few, but that has changed now. He said the new civil avi­a­tion pol­icy marks an op­por­tu­nity to cater to the as­pi­ra­tions of the peo­ple of In­dia. He said Tier-II and TierIII cities are be­com­ing growth en­gines, and en­hanced avi­a­tion con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween them will be ben­e­fi­cial. He said the UDAN scheme will help the tourism sec­tor in Hi­machal Pradesh.

The Min­istry of Civil Avi­a­tion (MoCA) is com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing air con­nec­tiv­ity to cur­rently un­der­served and un­served air­ports. To make air travel ac­ces­si­ble to cit­i­zens in re­gion­ally im­por­tant cities, the Min­istry launched UDAN RCS in Oc­to­ber 2016. The UDAN scheme was de­vel­oped through ex­ten­sive con­sid­er­a­tion of var­i­ous is­sues and con­sul­ta­tions with stake­hold­ers. This is a first-of-its-kind scheme glob­ally to stim­u­late re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity through a mar­ket-based mech­a­nism.

The UDAN scheme is a key com­po­nent of the Na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Pol­icy (NCAP) which was re­leased by the MoCA on June 15, 2016. The Air­ports Author­ity of In­dia (AAI) fol­lowed a trans­par­ent bid­ding process by invit­ing in­ter­ested bid­ders and air­line op­er­a­tors to sub­mit their ini­tial pro­pos­als un­der the pro­vi­sions of RCS and sub­se­quently invit­ing counter pro­pos­als against such ini­tial pro­pos­als. The routes and net­works are awarded to bid­ders who sub­mit­ted valid pro­pos­als and quoted the low­est Vi­a­bil­ity Gap Fund­ing (VGF) from the gov­ern­ment for such routes and net­works.

The AAI, the im­ple­ment­ing agency, have is­sued let­ter of awards for 27 pro­pos­als re­ceived un­der RCS-UDAN. Key fea­tures of the pro­pos­als awarded by AAI in­clude:

Air­ports to be con­nected: 27 cur­rently served air­ports, 12 cur­rently un­der­served air­ports and 31 cur­rently un­served air­ports (for a to­tal of 70 air­ports) will be con­nected through th­ese 27 pro­pos­als.

Ge­o­graph­i­cal spread: There is a good ge­o­graph­i­cal spread in the pro­pos­als: 24 air­ports in the western, 17 in north, 11 in south, 12 in east and 6 in north-eastern re­gions are pro­posed to be con­nected. 22 states and 2 union ter­ri­to­ries will be con­nected through th­ese 27 pro­pos­als.

Routes and net­work: 16 awarded pro­pos­als are for sin­gle routes (con­nect­ing two cities) and 11 are for net­works (con­nect­ing three or more cities). Six pro­pos­als have been bid with zero Vi­a­bil­ity Gap Fund­ing (VGF) re­flect­ing the fact that there is po­ten­tial la­tent de­mand.

VGF Out­flow: 27 pro­pos­als will re­quire a VGF of around ` 200 crore and will pro­vide around 6.5 lakh RCS seats.

The air­fare for a one-hour jour­ney of ap­prox­i­mately 500 km on a fixed-wing air­craft or for a 30 minute jour­ney on a he­li­copter would be capped at ` 2,500, with pro­por­tion­ate pric­ing for routes of dif­fer­ent stage lengths and flight du­ra­tion. The se­lected air­line op­er­a­tor would have to pro­vide 50 per cent of the flight ca­pac­ity (sub­ject to a min­i­mum of nine and a max­i­mum of 40) as RCS seats for op­er­a­tions through fixed wing air­craft and a min­i­mum of five and a max­i­mum of 13 RCS seats on the RCS flights for op­er­a­tions through he­li­copters and would be given a three years ex­clu­siv­ity of op­er­a­tions. To re­duce the cost of op­er­a­tions of air­lines on fly­ing such routes, a fi­nan­cial stim­u­lus in the form of con­ces­sions from Central and State gov­ern­ment, air­port op­er­a­tors and the VGF to the in­ter­ested air­lines would be pro­vided to kick-off op­er­a­tions from such air­ports, so that the pas­sen­ger fares are kept af­ford­able. State gov­ern­ment will pro­vide a cer­tain share of VGF (20 per cent for States other than north-east states where the ra­tio will be 10 per cent of VGF de­ter­mined). In this re­gard, till now 19 states and three UTs have signed MoU whereas five more states have given con­sent to sign MoU.

PRIME MIN­IS­TER NAREN­DRA MODI FLAGGING-OFF THE FIRST UDAN FLIGHT BY AL­LIANCE AIR (A SUB­SIDIARY OF AIR IN­DIA) FROM SHIMLA, ON APRIL 27, 2017. THE UNION MIN­IS­TER FOR CIVIL AVI­A­TION P. ASHOK GAJAPATHI RAJU, THE CHIEF MIN­IS­TER OF HI­MACHAL PRADESH VIRBHADRA SINGH AND THE SEC­RE­TARY, MIN­ISTRY OF CIVIL AVI­A­TION, R.N. CHOUBEY ARE ALSO SEEN.

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