Aviation regulator DGCA today said the collection of levy to subsidise the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) will now come into effect from the next month and any amount already paid by airlines under this fund would be adjusted against their accounts. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a notification today revising the date to September 1. The government had started charging a fee– ranging from Rs 7,500 to 8,500– from December 2016 in order to cross- subsidise flights to tier-2 and tier-3 cities under the RCS. The amount was revised to Rs 5,000 in May this year. “The said levy will now come into effect from 1.09.2017,” according to the notification.
The civil aviation ministry had earlier said it would collect a levy of Rs 5,000 per departure from airlines operating on major domestic routes in order to fund the ambitious RCS or UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme. The move was opposed by some private airlines and they challenged it in the court. The notification adds that the amount already paid by the airlines will be adjusted against their account. As many as 128 routes were awarded to five airlines in the first round of bidding for RCS in March. Through the RCS, the government aims to improve air connectivity to tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
It offers airlines subsidy to fly on these routes and, in return, these carriers have to offer half of the total seats at discounted fares.