2nd round of UDAN bid to improve connectivity to NE, J&K
Minister of Civil Aviation
P Ashok Gajapathi Raju announced the commencement for bidding for the second round of the Regional Connectivity Scheme – UDAN. He said that the thrust in the second round will be on improving connectivity to priority areas like the North East, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep by introducing more operational flexibility and promoting helicopter operations. The Minister informed that the changes in the second round of UDAN had been brought in after extensive consultations with stakeholders over the last four months.
Among the important changes that are being effected, routes with stage length less than 150 kms will now be permitted for operations as RCS Routes through fixed wing aircraft. This is aimed at providing enhanced connectivity and ease the formation of networks under the Scheme. While exclusivity of operations will continue to be applicable for a period of 3 years, Selected Airline Operators (SAO) can issue No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to other airline operators willing to operate on the respective RCS Route .This will ensure there is no supply constraint on RCS Routes. To provide more flexibility to Selected Airline Operators (SAO), the maximum number of flights with VGF have been increased to 14 for Priority Areas. Further, the SAOs can anytime increase the number of flights on RCS Routes to any number. Also, minimum performance specifications will no longer be applicable on Non-RCS Routes. Helicopter operations under the Scheme are limited to Priority Areas only. To encourage this, the VGF Caps for helicopters has been increased and 10% of the estimated annual inflows in the RCF will be earmarked for helicopter operations. Further, all 13 passenger seats for helicopters will be considered as RCS Seats and VGF will be provided accordingly.