Monday, May 22, 2023

UDAN 5.1 in the offing for northeast, hilly regions

The civil aviation ministry is expected to soon come out with the next phase of its flagship regional air connectivity scheme UDAN 5.1 to award routes in the northeast and hilly regions that will be serviced exclusively via choppers.

“The scheme will promote connectivity through the utilisation of both single and double engine choppers. The quantum of VGF (viability gap funding), the number of routes and helipads in the scheme are being finalised,” officials said.

To enhance regional air connectivity, the scheme provides VGF to operators that have been selected via a bidding process to operate flights on under-served or unserved routes.

The new scheme will promote chopper usage and grow the existing number of helicopters in India. At present, there are only around 280 civilian choppers in India which are used in various sectors.

Currently, the government has invited bids for regional routes under the scheme’s fifth phase.

The fifth phase has introduced new equipment types such as ‘category 2’ (20–80 seats) and ‘category 3’ (more than 80 seats) aircraft operations.

22/05/2023 Rohit Vaid/Financial Express

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