Recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Ministry) has invited tenders from airline operators for unserved and underserved airports in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Ladakh and North-Eastern states in India under the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) Scheme or the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) (Scheme). The said Scheme aims at connecting unserved and underserved airports to key airports through low-cost flights and also envisages to provide subsidy to airlines to offer such low-cost fares.
As per the Ministry, an unserved airport means any airport where there have been no scheduled commercial flights during the last 2 (two) flight schedules approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA); whereas, an underserved airport means any airport where there are no more than 7 (seven) scheduled commercial flight departures per week as per the latest flight schedule approved by the DGCA.
Bidding process in J&K and Ladakh:
The bidding process for the following 11 unserved airports in J&K and 2 underserved airports in Ladakh region have commenced on 03-12-2019 with the objective to establish strong air connectivity and to boost the tourism sector in the region:
1- Unserved Airports available for bidding in J&K – Akhnur, Chamb, Chushal, Fukche, Gurex, Jhangar, Miran Sahib, Panzgam, Poonch, Rajouri and Udhampur
2- Underserved Airports available for bidding in Ladakh – Kargil and Thoise
Bidding process in North-Eastern states:
The Ministry has recently invited bids for 24 unserved and 6 underserved airports in the North-Eastern states of India on 06-12-2019, with the objective of providing aerial connectivity to the region and boosting the tourism sector, that would transform the economic situation of the region:
1- Unserved Airports available for bidding in various states of North-East India are as follows:
i) Arunachal Pradesh – Alinya, Along, Daparizo, Mechuka, Tuting, Vijaynagar, Walong, Yinghiong, Ziro
ii) Assam –Chabua, Darrang, Dinjan, Ledo, Misa Mari, Nazira, Sadiya, Sorbhog, Sukerating (Dum Duma)
iii) Meghalaya –Dwara, Shella, Tura
iv) Tripura –Kailashahar, Kamalpur, Khowai
2- Underserved Airports available for bidding in various states of North-East India are as follows:
a) Arunachal Pradesh –Passighat and Tezu
b) Assam – Jorhat, Rupsi, Tezpur
c) Meghalaya –Shillong
3- Water Aerodrome available for bidding in Assam – Umrangso Reservoir
The successful airline operator bidder in both J&K and Ladakh, and in North-East States of India would avail a number of incentives including levy of 2% excise duty on aviation turbine fuel (ATF), reduction of value added tax to 1% on ATF at RCS Concession Airports, provision of minimum land, if required, free of cost and free from all encumbrances for development of RCS Concession Airports, provision of free security and fire services and low-cost electricity, water and other utility services at RCS Concession Airports, no landing and parking charges, and terminal navigation landing charges at RCS Concession Airports, increased viability gap funding (VGF) or financial support provided by Government to the RCS flight operating airlines, etc, for certain period of time.
Thus, the Ministry has aimed at operationalizing 1000 routes and more than 100 airports in the next five years including development of no-frills airports to promote and encourage low-cost airlines and airports and eliminating non-essential features in flights and at airports.
Senior Legal Associate
The Indian Lawyer