Regional routes: airlines want subsidy for a longer period

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 18, 2018

RN Choubey

Airlines have requested the Ministry of Civil Aviation to provide them subsidy beyond the three years stipulated in the draft Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).

The Ministry had unveiled the draft RCS earlier this month to enhance regional air connectivity.

At a meeting with stakeholders here on Friday, before the contours of the scheme are finalised, some State governments sought dilution of the norms on the distance between two cities for a flight to qualify under the RCS scheme.

At the moment, the draft scheme has flights covering a distance of between 200 km and 800 km to under-served or un-served airports in the country as being eligible for benefits. There was also a plea to further reduce the bank guarantee fee of ₹50 lakh required for starting a new flight under the scheme.

Representatives from Tamil Nadu and the Union Territories of Dadar and Daman were not present at the meeting which saw attendance from 26 States and 3 Union Territories. RN Choubey, Secretary Civil Aviation, said that just because some States and Union Territories were not present at the meeting it does not mean that the scheme will not be implemented there.

“We hope to have the final contours of the scheme ready for roll-out by the middle of next month,” Choubey said adding that a final decision on how the funds for providing subsidy for flights under the RCS scheme will be finalised by next week.

To fund subsidised flying across the country, the draft policy suggests that a Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) be created into which monies from a levy or fee on all domestic flights other than those operated in islands and in the North-East will flow. A call on whether the levy will be on a lump-sum basis per domestic flight departure between the major metros or on a per seat basis is expected soon, the Secretary had said while releasing the draft policy.

Published on July 29, 2016

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