New Delhi. 27 March 2022. With the repeal of the Air Corporation Act, 1953, in March 1994, the Indian domestic aviation market was deregulated. Consequently, airlines are free to induct capacity with any aircraft type for selecting whatever markets and networks they wish to service and operate across the country. Thus, it is up to the airlines to provide air services to specific places depending upon the traffic demand and their commercial viability, in compliance with the relevant guidelines in this matter.
Government of India with a view to achieve better connectivity of air transport services of different regions of the country has issued the Route Dispersal Guidelines (RDG). Routes have been classified into various categories namely Category -I, II , II-A and III under RDG. There are twenty routes connecting cities directly under Category-I. Routes connecting stations in North-Eastern Region, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep Islands are classified as Category -II. All scheduled operators are required to deploy in Category-II routes at least 10% of their deployed capacity on Category-I routes. Routes within the North-Eastern Region, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep Islands and Cochin-Agatti-Cochin are classified as Category-II A. All operator(s) are required to deploy at least 1% in Category-II A routes of the capacity, deployed on Category-I routes.
Ministry of Civil Aviation launched Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (UdeDeshkaAamNagrik) on 21-10-2016 to stimulate regional air connectivity and making air travel affordable to the masses. States of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand, North Eastern Region of India, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands have been included in the Scheme Document as Priority Area(s). The Scheme document offers more benefits, including Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for Priority Area(s), to interested airline operators for participating in the bids for award of routes.
Further, to enhance air connectivity for NER, budgetary allocation of amount of approximately Rs. 24 crores has been made in the Financial Year 2021-22 to support the airlines.