Modi to flag off first Udan flight from Shimla: What is the RCS scheme?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the first flight on Thursday under the Regional Connectivity Scheme Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (Udan) by flagging off the Alliance Airlines flight on Shimla-Delhi sector from Jubbar Hatti airport near Shimla.

Simultaneously, he will also flag off the inaugural Udan flight on Nanded-Hyderabad and Kadapa-Hyderabad sectors.

This gains significance as Shimla lacked air connectivity and a petition demanding recommencement of lights was suspended in 2012. Currently, the petition is being heard in the Supreme Court.

Here’s all you need to know about the scheme: 

  • The Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderbad flights will be operated by TruJet and one-way tickets on these two routes are priced at Rs 1,000 minimum.
  • Under the scheme, an airline is bound to sell 50% of the seats at subsidised fares and on Delhi-Shimla route one way ticket is priced at Rs 1,920. The highest fare on this route is Rs 20,000 for a one-way ticket.
  • Five airlines will operate on 128 routes under the regional connectivity scheme wherein fares are capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights.
  • Over 45 unserved and under-served airports would be connected under the scheme. These include Bhatinda, Puducherry and Shimla.
  • The operators are Air India subsidiary Airline Allied Services, SpiceJet, Air Deccan, Air Odishaand Turbo Megha. They would be operating 19-78 seater aircraft.
  • The operators of such flights would be extended viability gap funding — for which money is partly raised through a levy of up to Rs 8,500 on flights operating in major routes like Delhi and Mumbai.
  • Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said the scheme provides for various benefits including no airport charges and three-year exclusivity on the routes.
  • The panel would be responsible for coordination among stakeholders, including state governments, for time bound implementation of the scheme.
This is Modi's first visit to Shimla after becoming the Prime Minister. He had visited the town last in 2003 when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.

The BJP is making all out efforts to make the rally a grand success ahead of the Shimla Municipal Corporation elections.

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