Puducherry Joins Regional Connectivity Scheme

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Civil Aviation Ministry, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Puducherry government has signed a pact for the proposed regional connectivity scheme (RCS).

Puducherry has formally agreed to provide the concessions required from the state governments under the RCS.

The ministry has already signed MoUs with various states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh for implementation of RCS.

The government expects the first flight under RCS, which is in advanced stages of finalisation, to take off in early January 2017.

Regional Connectivity Scheme:

The scheme seeks to provide air services between un-served and under-served areas and is part of larger plans to boost the domestic aviation sector, which is clocking over 20 per cent passenger growth over the last several months.

A slew of incentives are being proposed under RCS, including Rs 2,500 cap on airfare for one-hour flights. The airlines operating flights under RCS will be extended a viability gap funding (VGF), while the states concerned are required to offer certain concessions such as providing police and fire services free of cost.

The partner state governments would also contribute a 20 per cent share to this fund (10 per cent for northeastern states). For balanced regional growth, the allocations under the scheme would be equitably spread across the five regions — North, West, South, East and Northeast.

VGF will be created by way of charging a small levy per departure on all domestic flights on certain routes and small aircraft with less than 80 seats. The central and the state governments will be sharing the VGF amount.

There are 394 un-served and 16 under-served airports.

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