Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the maiden Shimla-New Delhi flight under a government scheme to boost regional air connectivity. The flight is being operated by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India. The airline has deployed its 42-seater ATR plane on this sector. The prime minister also simultaneously flagged off regional connectivity scheme (RCS) flights on the Kadapa– Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors through video- conferencing. With the RCS scheme, also called UDAN or “Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik”, the government aims at connecting 45 unserved and under-served airports and make flying affordable by capping fares at Rs 2500 per seat/ hour. Five airlines were awarded 128 routes under the scheme last month after a bidding process.
Under the UDAN scheme, the operators would be extended viability gap funding (VGF). The amount is estimated to be around Rs 205 crore per annum for the operators chosen in the first round of bidding. The state governments will provide a certain share of the VGF. Nineteen states and three union territories have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for this purpose.