The government today said it expects to come out with the final contours of the proposed Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), which seeks to make flying affordable for the masses, in the next couple of weeks.
The NDA government had on July 1 unveiled the scheme to promote air connectivity in the regional and remote areas of the country, as part of its larger plans to boost the domestic aviation sector, which is logging over 20 per cent growth.
It (RCS) is expected to be finalised in a few weeks time, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit here.
“We will make efforts to ensure that flights under RCS start from January 1,” he added.
Sinha had last week said that the subsidies offered under the RCS would attract airlines to operate flights in smaller cities and remote areas.
Airlines under RCS will be extended viability gap funding (VGF) while the states concerned are required to offer certain concessions such as providing police and fire services free of cost.
VGF will be created by way of charging a small levy per departure on all domestic flights on certain routes and small aircraft below 80 seats. Central and state governments will be sharing the VGF amount.
Earlier, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had also said that the first flight under RCS was likely to take off by the end of this year or early January 2017.
The civil aviation ministry has signed memorandum of understanding with Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Puducherry among others for implementation of RCS.
The scheme refers to operation of an air transport service between any two airports, of which at least one has been declared by the central government as un-served or under-served. There are 394 un-served and 16 under-served airports.
A raft of incentives is being proposed under RCS, including Rs 2,500 cap on airfare for one-hour flights.