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As Udan Scheme Enters Phase Four, AAI Starts Taking Bids To Expand Air Map

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) on Tuesday initiated the process of taking bids from airlines for various routes under the fourth round of bidding to its regional connectivity scheme UDAN. The focus of regional connectivity scheme UDAN is on enhancing connectivity in remote and regional areas of country-northeast India, hilly states, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and the islands. 

Under the UDAN scheme, financial incentives in terms of concessions from the centre, state governments, and airport operators are extended to selected airlines to encourage operations in the regional areas and keep airfares affordable. With the inclusion of helicopter and seaplane operation under NSOP license has also been allowed in the fourth round of bidding.

MoCA hopes to have 1000 operational routes by 2025.

In a statement, the Aviation Ministry said viability gap funding had been revised this time to provide “ a provision of VGF (viability gap funding) for category 2 / 3 aircraft (more than 20 seater) has been enhanced for operation of RCS flights in priority areas, including union territories of Ladakh and J&K; Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Northeastern states; Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar. The VGF cap for below 20-seater aircraft has also been revised”.

As at least half of the seats in UDAN flights are offered at subsided fares, and the participating carriers are provided with a certain amount of VGF- an amount shared between the Centre and the state concerned. Till date with around a total of 688 routes connecting 137 cities, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) aims to operationalise 1000 routes and more than 100 airports in the next five years.  

The airport that is in the priority areas are as follows- Campbell Bay, Car Nicobar and Shibpr in Andaman and Nicobar; Alinya, Along, Daparizo and Mechuka in Arunachal; Darrang, Dinjan, Ledo and Misa Mari in Assam; Akhnur, Chamb, Chushal, Poonch, Rajouri and Udhampur in J&K; Shella and Tura in Meghalaya; Kailashahar and Kamalpur in Tripura; and Gaucher in Uttarakhand. 

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