The Government has received as many as 100 proposals from aviation companies under the Udan 4.2, a regional connectivity scheme (RCS) for seaplanes, small aircraft, fixed wings, and helicopters. Players like Pawan Hans, FlyBig, SpiceJet, Alliance Air and AirTaxi are among top bidders. 

A top government official told BusinessLine that the Civil Aviation Ministry is likely to soon award most of the routes under the scheme .

The Udan 4.2 is aimed at improving last mile connectivity by bringing in smaller aircraft which include up to 19-20 seaters, fixed-wing aircraft, seaplanes, and helicopters. 

Approximately 370 routes are being put in under this programme of which 100 are seaplane routes, 60-odd are helicopter routes, and the balance are fixed wing routes.

“In total, there are approximately 100 proposals. For fixed-wing alone, the ministry has received 78 proposals. For seaplanes, too, there have been a handful of proposals. For helicopters, there are 7-8 routes, all are likely to be awarded as well,” the official said on conditions of anonymity.

The person said, “for Fixed-wing routes, we will soon start the negotiations. At least 15-20 of the total routes will be awarded to airports which have been built but no operations had begun because airlines weren’t able to operate.”

As far as the small aircraft segment is concerned, the official said there were a few rough edges in the proposals that were being sorted out. However, the ministry is ready to bear higher costs if it gives the smaller aircraft segments a push. 

In a recent interview with BusinessLine, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Civil Aviation minister said, “The fact that the leasing cost is extremely high which cannot be appropriated for smaller aircraft, so we looked at a third model where we take on the leasing cost as part of these aircraft as part of the subsidy. The first round of that has also occurred under Udan 4.2 and we are very hopeful to be able to provide this connectivity through seaplanes and smaller sub-20 seater aircraft.” 

For Helicopters too, there are around 7-8 routes and Pawan Hans seems to have bid for those routes. In the case of seaplane routes, about a year and a half ago, SpiceJet was awarded Ahmedabad to Kevadia route. But it shut down its operations due to issues with the aircraft. This time, MehAir and SpiceJet are likely to have bid for the routes to Lakswadeep and the Andamans.

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