Passengers traveling between metros and other big cities will have to pay extra from Friday night. The fares will go up by around Rs 100 as the government has decided to charge airliners Rs 5,000 per domestic flight to create a regional connectivity fund, Times of India reports. Using the fund, the government aims to cap fares for such flights at Rs 2,500 per hour. Apart from the regional cess, oil marketing companies have also raised the prices of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) from Friday by a steep 4%. The money obtained from the levy was to be used to subsidise flights on the unconnected routes. As per an earlier report, the regional connectivity scheme was started for providing air services to and from small towns too. The government has already awarded 128 routes to five airlines under the RCS, also known as Udan or Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik scheme. Under the scheme, airliners TruJet, SpiceJet, Air Deccan, Air Odisha and Air India subsidiary Alliance Air, won bids to operate on the routes that will connect 70 airports, including 31 unserved and 12 under-served ones under the scheme. Cities such as Agra, Bathinda, Gwalior, Puducherry, Porbandar, Kanpur, Burnpur, Cooch Behar, Ludhiana, Shimla, Jaisalmer, Bagdogra, Shillong, Jagdalpur and Dehradun, among others, will get connected through air services over the next few months.
An Indian Express report says that the airlines operating RCS flights will sell 50 per cent of the tickets at fares not exceeding Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights, while they are allowed to charge market prices for the remaining 50 per cent seats. The government is providing viability gap funding (VGF) to airlines to ensure that 50 per cent of the seats are sold at subsidized rates. UDAN is Narendra Modi government’s mega plan to boost air connectivity. The government had prepared an action plan to revive 160 airports and airstrips, each of which would cost about Rs 50-100 crore.