Indian government kick starts its Regional Air Connectivity Scheme

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Government of India has kick started its Regional Air Connectivity Scheme (RCS) by awarding 128 regional routes to five airlines that include Alliance Air, SpiceJet, Turbo Megha, Air Odisha and Air Deccan.

As a result of the scheme, there will soon be Salem-Chennai, Kadapa-Chennai, Nanded-Hyderabad and Puducherry-Salem flights on which at least half the passengers will be able to fly at fares of under Rs 2,500.

The government, under the RCS, has proposed at least half the seats on every flight to be available under a fare cap of Rs 2,500 per seat per hour of flying.

In the first round of RCS, Alliance Air has got 15 routes, which will operate in five un-served and two under-served airports. Air Deccan has been awarded 34 routes (10 un-served and five under-served). Air Odisha has won 50 routes.

Flights under the RCS scheme could take off as early as April with both Alliance Air and Air Deccan indicating that they plan to launch services between Shimla and Delhi in April.

Air Deccan is planning to operate Durgapur-Kolkata and Rourkela-Kolkata flights from July this year and launch flights linking Kullu to Delhi and Pant Nagar to Dehradun in August. Air Odisha plans to link Bhavnagar to Ahmedabad and Diu to Ahmedabad in August, followed by flights between Kadapa and Bengaluru, Kadapa and Chennai, Rourkela and Bhubaneswar, and Puducherry and Chennai among others.

SpiceJet, Chief Executive Officer, Ajay Singh, said that the airline will introduce three aircraft to participate in the RCS. The airline plans to include Puducherry-Hyderabad, Porbandar-Mumbai, Adampur-Delhi and Kandla-Mumbai services from August.

Commenting on the first round of RCS, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said, “The geographical spread of the airports covered is interesting.”