Air commuters on important domestic routes very soon have to shell out more for flights to fund the government’s regional connectivity scheme announced on Friday. Under this scheme, fares will be capped at Rs 2,500 for half the number of the seats in one-hour duration flights. Based on Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers, the cap on fares will get reviewed time to time. The price will also vary according to the duration of flight under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), now named as ‘UDAN’.
However many existing airlines are not happy with the government’s move to impose a ‘very small’ levy on departures on important routes in order to fund the scheme. They view this a reason for the pushing up of airfares and say that there are other ways to fund the scheme. The scheme has received accolades as well because of the plan to make flying to smaller cities affordable. Here are a few things to know about the scheme ‘UDAN’:
1. UDAN also was known as Ude Desh ka Aam nagrik is a Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) which is meant to boost budget flying in regional areas.
2. UDAN as an RCS project was announced by BJP-government on 1 July 2016, and said that it will provide funding to make this a viable project. It will spend Rs 4000 crore within 4 years to reopen 50 disused airports.
3. In this scheme, all inclusive fares are offered at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights which cover a distance of 500km and chopper flights ranging under 30 minutes duration.
4. According to Ashwani Lohani, Air India Chairman and Managing Director, the national air carrier will be starting flights under the RCS project in January 2017.
5. Every RCS Route will have a minimum frequency of flights of three and a maximum of seven per week, and the government thinks that this will lead to the sale of domestic sector air tickets worth Rs 30 crore per year till 2022 and go on to Rs 50 crore in the five years after that.