Aviation

3 airports in Karnataka selected in first phase of UDAN bidding

BENGALURU: Three airports in Karnataka — Mysuru, Bidar and Vidyanagar (Ballari) — have been selected in the first phase of bidding for the regional connectivity scheme (RCS), known as UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik).

While air connectivity to Vidyanagar airport will commence next month, in Mysuru and Bidar it will be from September.

The all-inclusive airfare under RCS is Rs. 2,500, and the airfare cap will be indexed to inflation and revised quarterly. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the scheme from Shimla airport on April 27. A total of 45 airports have been selected in the first round of bidding, said Rajiv Nayan Chaube, Joint Secretary of Civil Aviation.

The Airports Authority of India, an implementing agency for RCS, will hold the second round of bidding, for air services to 400 unserved airports, in the next two months.

The RCS is a demand-driven scheme in which airline operators bid for routes; the State can suggest any airport to be included in the unserved list.

The State government and the Civil Aviation Ministry on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding on air connectivity to the three airports. UDAN intends to enable air services on unserved routes connecting regional areas, promote balanced regional growth, and make flying affordable for the masses.

According to the agreement, the Union and State governments will bear the cost of viability gap funding in the ratio of 80:20. The State will provide concessions to airlines operating under the RCS routes.

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