Centre allows ‘UDAN’ regional air services in select routes

UDAN scheme

New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) As domestic flights resume on Monday, regional air connectivity services under the UDAN scheme will also resume but in select areas and with conditions, as per the modalities set by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

In an order, the ministry on Sunday said that all the operational routes in priority areas which include the northeastern region, hill states and islands are permitted to resume operations.

Further, all operational helicopter routes are permitted to resume operations. All operational routes with no viability gap funding (VGF) are permitted, it said.

The ministry also said that all operational routes up to 500 km stage length are permitted to resume operations. And selected airline operators (SAOs) are allowed to operationalise awarded routes under UDAN, including seaplanes on the permitted routes.

“If willing to operate without VGF support, SAOs may operate Tourism RCS routes (T-RCS) or RCS routes with stage length more than 500 km in areas other than Priority Areas. However, other incentives for the respective routes as per the scheme document would continue to be available for the contract period,” the order said.

Selected airline operators may also be allowed to operate regional connectivity scheme routes with stage length more than 500 km as per the respective SAO agreements in cases where operation of such routes are necessary for repositioning of aircraft for a network which consists of all other permitted RCS routes.

Non-operation of such RCS routes would lead to the airports being connected by such routes to become unserved as per the scheme document.

Considering the limited amount of demand likely to be seen in the near future as well as the objective of optimal utilisation of viability gap funding, selected airline operators are allowed operating flexibility in their schedules while mandating a minimum of 3 flights per week and maximum as per the awarded frequency in the respective agreements.

Further, selected airline operators are allowed flexibility to operate truncated routes from the networks or from new networks as long as RCS routes within the network belong to the permitted categories

“RCS-UDAN flights would be in addition to the permitted 1/3rd capacity of the approved Summer Schedule, 2020 as communicated vide Order dated 21st May, 2020 of MoCA,” said the order.

India has allowed airlines to recommence domestic passenger flight operations in a calibrated manner from May 25.

Passenger air services were suspended for both scheduled domestic and international flights since March 25, due to the imposition of the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

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