The Civil Aviation Ministry has launched the fifth round of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), also known as Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN), with the aim of boosting air connectivity to remote and regional areas. This newest version of the scheme is expected to further increase momentum and connect new routes, bringing India closer to its target of operationalizing 1,000 routes and 50 additional airports, heliports, and water aerodromes in the near future.
Under UDAN 5.0, the viability gap funding (VGF) will be capped at 600 km stage length for both priority and non-priority areas, an increase from the previous cap of 500 km. Additionally, no pre-determined routes will be offered, and only network and individual route proposals by airlines will be considered. The focus of this round will be on Category-2 (20-80 seats) and Category-3 (more than 80 seats), and there is no restriction on the distance between the origin and destination of the flight.
Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has expressed confidence that this stronger version of the scheme will enable airlines to provide greater connectivity to smaller cities and towns across the country. The UDAN 5.0 initiative is expected to promote regional development, create employment opportunities, and provide affordable air travel options to the common people.