The focus of regional connectivity scheme (RCS) UDAN-4 is on enhancing connectivity in remote and regional areas of the country — northeast India, hilly states, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh and the islands. Faizabad — nearest airport to Ayodhya — has also been offered for operators to fly to this pilgrim town.
Non-schedule operators of helicopter and seaplanes will be allowed to bid in this round, paving the way for water aerodromes. The list of airports sought to be connected by flights under this scheme includes names like: Campbell Bay, Car Nicobar and Shibpur 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. These airports are in the priority areas.
Apart from these airports from other places have also been included for flights under UDAN-4. These include: Kurnool in Andhra; Mudra in Gujarat; Bokaro in Jharkhand; Amravati, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri in Maharashtra; Ludhiana and Pathankot in Punjab; Kota in Rajasthan; Rourkela in Orissa; Salem in Tamil Nadu; Faizabad (Ayodhaya) and Saharanpur (Sarsawa) in UP and Hashimara in West Bengal.
In a statement, the aviation ministry said viability gap funding (VGF) cap has been revised this time. “The provision of VGF for over 20-seater aircraft has been enhanced for operation of RCS flights in priority areas, union territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir; Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, North Eastern states; Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar. The VGF cap for below 20-seater aircraft has also been revised,” the statement said.
Given the focus areas, an attempt has been made to promote air travel on short haul routes. The provision of VGF would be restricted for routes with stage length up to 600 km.
Airports that have already been developed by AAI would be given higher priority for award of VGF under the scheme, followed by other airports. “The selected airline operator (SAO) would be allowed to change 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 statement added.