New Delhi: Following three successful rounds of bidding, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a Press communication today it has launched the 4th round (Phase 4) of Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) to further enhance the connectivity to remote and regional areas of the country. Focus of this round will be priority areas like the North East Region, Hilly States, J&K, Ladakh and islands. Some of the key features of the Scheme are:
The provision of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for Category 2 & 3 aircraft (more than 20 seater) has been enhanced for operation of RCS flights in Priority Area(s) (Union Territories [UT] of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir; the States of Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, North Eastern State; UT of Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar). The VGF cap applicable for various stage lengths for operation through category 1 & 1A aircraft (below 20 seater) has also been revised to further incentivize the operation of small aircraft under the Scheme.
UDAN-4 will also promote short-haul routes. The provision of VGF would be restricted for routes with stage length up to 600 kms, for operation of Category 2 & 3 aircraft, beyond it no monetary support would be provided. The table for provision of VGF for various stage lengths would be available for stage length up to 500 kms.
The Ministry said airports that have already been developed by AAI would be given higher priority for award of VGF under the Scheme, followed by airports not part of the above list but located in Priority Area(s) would be given a priority, followed by airports located in areas other than Priority Area(s).
UDAN Phase 4 will allow Selected Airline Operators (SAO) flexibility in changing the frequency of flight operation, during the tenure of flight operation of the given route, provided that the total scheduled flight operation submitted as part of the Technical Proposal is conformed and adhered to within a period of one year.
The operation of helicopters and sea planes will also be allowed under NSOP licenses in UDAN-4.
The Ministry said that AAI is inviting interested bidders and airline operators to take part in the bidding process. The bidding documentation has been uploaded to the portal and website. Bidders can submit queries, if any, by 11 December.
The timelines of the bidding process has been provided in the ‘Notice of Commencement of 4th Round of Bidding’, uploaded to the portal and website.