Monday, November 07, 2016

Regional air link scheme runs into rough weather over defence installations

New Delhi: The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) project or UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik), launched by the Centre to connect unserved and underserved airports to the aviation grid, has hit a hurdle
with many defence installations and air bases falling between airports yet to be connected. Ironically, under pressure, the Civil Aviation Ministry announced the launch of the RCS project on October 21, without consulting with the Armed Forces opening up of restricted airspace for RCS commercial flights.
A senior Civil Aviation Ministry official said they would take a call on releasing of new RCS routes in consultation with the defence forces on a case-to-case basis. However, the official admitted it would delay the process of opening up of new RCS routes and discourage carriers as it would create uncertainty. The government had earlier announced starting of RCS flights by this year-end but it has been pushed to next year.
The Defence Ministry has been apprehensive about opening up air space for the new RCS routes due to security reasons, as aircraft flying on RCS routes will cover shorter distances and so would fly at low altitudes. And this is where the problem lies, which has not been resolved yet by the Civil Aviation and Defence ministries.
07/11/16 Sanjay Singh/New Indian Express