Government to issue final guidelines on Regional Connectivity Scheme

New Delhi, Oct 20 : The government will on Friday issue the final guidelines of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) which intends to provide air connectivity to unserved and remote routes, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said.

The government expected “a very positive” response from the industry to the final guidelines, the Minister said at an event held here on Thursday for “Building Awareness on Aligning Skill Development in the Civil Aviation Sector with the National Skill Qualification Framework”.

Key components of the RCS like capping of passenger fares and Viability Gap Funding (VGF) period are expected to be announced.

According to the Minister, the final guidelines have been drafted after extensive consultations with all the stakeholders like state governments, airlines, airport operators, chopper services providers, aircraft manufactures, industry associations and regulatory bodies, among others.

The scheme is a key component of the recently approved National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP), whose main objective is to “enhance regional connectivity through fiscal support and infrastructure development”.

The policy intends to grow regional connectivity via several measures such as incentives, capping of air fares for a limited number of seats and revival of existing air strips and airports.

The RCS is expected to support airlines by providing direct financial support namely VGF, which would be given to the interested airlines to kick off operations to an unserved or underserved airport. It is also expected to keep passenger fares affordable.

Under the scheme, the partner state governments would also have to contribute a 20 per cent share to the fund — the northeastern states would need to give only 10 per cent share towards the RCF.