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Govt launches UDAN 5.1, specifically designed for helicopter routes
Image credit: Pixabay

Govt launches UDAN 5.1, specifically designed for helicopter routes

| @indiablooms | 25 May 2023, 12:26 am

New Delhi: The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Wednesday introduced UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) 5.1, an initiative aimed at enhancing connectivity and ensuring smooth accessibility to remote areas across the country.

Expanding on the achievements of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN from the previous four rounds and the ongoing implementation of the fifth round (version 5.0), this latest initiative marks a significant advancement by incorporating helicopters to facilitate last-mile connectivity.

As per an official statement, this round of RCS-UDAN is specifically tailored for helicopter routes, which is a first in the programme's history.

UDAN 5.1 brings notable enhancements to improve connectivity and accessibility throughout the nation.

One significant update is the expanded operational scope for operators, enabling routes where either the origin or destination location falls within a priority area.

Previously, both the origin and destination had to be in priority areas to be eligible under the scheme.

Furthermore, UDAN 5.1 has implemented a reduction of up to 25 percent in airfare caps for helicopter travel, aiming to make it more affordable for passengers.

Additionally, there has been a substantial increase in the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) caps for operators utilizing both single and twin-engine helicopters.

These adjustments are intended to enhance the financial feasibility of operating the designated routes, thereby encouraging more operators to participate in the scheme and contribute to improved connectivity across the country.

UDAN 5.1, formulated through extensive consultations with stakeholders including helicopter operators, has a primary objective of enhancing last-mile connectivity and bolstering the helicopter segment within the Indian civil aviation industry.

The previous rounds of UDAN have effectively implemented 46 helicopter routes, bringing substantial advantages to hilly regions and states in the North East. In the current round, a larger number of routes are being targeted for coverage, further expanding the reach of the scheme.

The UDAN initiative has played a crucial role in providing air connectivity benefits to passengers, extending concessions to airlines operating regional routes, and contributing to the economic development of previously underserved regions.

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