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25-Jan-2018 9:44 AM

Second round of UDAN to connect 78 airports; 31 helipads

India's Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapati Raju stated (24-Jan-2018) key revisions under the second round of the regional connectivity scheme (UDAN) covering priority areas, operational flexibility, helicopter operations, among other things, have been made. Key policy initiatives under second round of UDAN are as follows:

  • Focusing Priority Areas to expand the Remote Area connectivity:
    • Priority area(s) refers to the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand, North Eastern Region, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands;
    • Priority RCS Route refers to RCS routes in which at least one of the origin and destination airport is an RCS airport is located in;
    • Priority area(s): RCS Airport satisfies definition of underserved airport or unserved airport under the scheme;
    • Underserved airport refers to any airport which has no more than 14 scheduled commercial departures per week;
    • Maximum number of services for oriority RCS routes: Number of RCS weekly services with VGF shall be a minimum of three and a maximum of 14 departures per week from the same RCS airport. RCS services are operated on at least three times weekly;
    • Operations through Category-1A aircraft (with passenger seats less than nine) will be permitted only for priority RCS routes;
    • Enhanced VGF aaps for operations through Category-1 A and Category-1 Fixed-wing aircraft for priority RCS routes. Further, the arfare caps and VGF caps have been specified for stage lengths less than 151km and priority RCS routes/Category 1A aircraft;
  • Providing impetus to Helicopter services: Helicopter operations under the scheme are allowed in Priority Areas (intra). VGF Caps for helicopter operations have been enhanced, with up to 10% of the estimated annual inflows in the RCF earmarked for operations through helicopters. The methodology for computing the flight duration has been revised as per recommendation of Expert Committee and 100% RCS seats for helicopters with RCS flight capacity of 13 seats or less. For more than 13 seats, number of RCS Seats in an RCS service shall be capped at 13 passenger seats.

The following details relates to the route awards under the scheme:

  • Airports Authority of India (AAI), the implementing agency, has issued Letter of Awards for 90 proposals received under the scheme after completion of the second round of bidding. Key features of the proposals awarded by AAI include:
    • Airports to be connected: Total 78 airports ie 36 currently served airports, 13 currently underserved airports and 29 currently unserved airports (25 distinct airports after removing the four overlapping airports from UDAN-1) will be connected. In addition, 31 helipads/ heliports will be connected through Helicopters in priority areas;
    • Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Outflow: These proposals will required VGF estimated at INR4.87 billion (USD76.6 million) p/a for helicopter operations in the priority areas;
  • It is expected that the fixed wing aircraft proposals will provide around 2.65 million RCS seats p/a of which will be covered by airfare cap of INR2500 (USD39) for approximately one hour of flying. In addition, around 200,000 RCS seats p/a are expected to be provided through helicopter operations. [more - original PR]

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