The success of the first phase of RCS has rendered the path towards a smooth transition into UDAN 2.0, with an impetus to stimulate helicopters and small fixed wing aircraft operations.
To boost the mammoth growth of the country’s domestic aviation sector and to take flying to the common Indians, the government launched the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) with its unique, affordable flying strategy. Committed to providing air connectivity to currently underserved and unserved airports, the MoCA launched UDAN regional connectivity scheme in October 2016. After a first round of successful bidding under RCS-UDAN, the MoCA launched the second round on August 24, 2017.
UDAN is a key component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP), which was released by the Ministry on June 15, 2016. The AAI followed a transparent bidding process by inviting interested bidders and airline operators to submit their initial proposals under the provisions of RCS and subsequently inviting counter proposals against such initial proposals. This was followed by the opening and scrutiny of technical bids, and subsequently financial bids, for initial proposals as well as counter proposals.
The routes and networks were awarded to bidders who submitted valid proposals and quoted the lowest Viability Gap Funding (VGF) in the form of subsidy from the government for such routes and networks. After the first initial bidding, five airlines won bids to operate on 128 routes that would connect 33 unserved and 12 underserved airports. Airline Allied Services Limited, SpiceJet Limited, Turbo Megha Airways Private Limited, Air Deccan and Air Odisha Aviation Private Limited were the five winning bidders.
Bidding Wars The Central Government has awarded contracts to 15 airliners to operate flights and chopper services on 325 new routes under the second phase of RCS. UDAN 2.0 saw contracts for the new routes being awarded to improve air connectivity to remote areas such as Kargil, Darbhanga, Pakyong, Cooch Behar, Jorhat and Almora. With an increasing emphasis to cover priority areas, maintain operational flexibility and improving helicopter operations, UDAN 2.0 will connect 56 new airports and helipads to 36 existing aerodromes.