Air connectivity between various remote and hitherto ‘unserved’ parts of the country is all set to begin on Thursday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging of the first UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Aadmi) flights on north and south India routes simultaneously. According to a PMO note, the Prime Minister will flag off the
inaugural flights between Shimla-Delhi and Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors under the regional connectivity scheme or RCS.
To make air travel accessible to citizens in regionally important cities, the Ministry of Civil Aviation launched the UDAN Regional Connectivity Scheme in October 2016. "This is a first-of-its-kind scheme globally to stimulate regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism,” the note said. Airports Authority of India (AAI) is the implementing agency for the government’s UDAN scheme. So far it has cleared 27 proposals received under the RCS-UDAN. At present the plan is to connect 27 served, 12
underserved and 31 unserved airports across the country.
Of the 70 airports to be covered under the 27 proposals, 24 airports are in the western, 17 in north, 11 in south, 12 in ea6st and 6 in north-eastern parts of the country. With this 22 states and 2 Union
Territories will have air connectivity.
Of the 27 proposals, 16 routes will connect two cities and 11 a network of three or more cities. “Six proposals have been bid with zero viability gap funding (VGF) reflecting the fact that there is potential latent demand. All the 27 proposals will require a VGF of around Rs 200 crore and will provide around 6.5 lakh RCS seats,” according to the PMO note.