The Union government has targeted to build and operationalize 100 airports by 2024 of which over 50 per cent have already been built and have been made functional for Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) flights. Selected Airline Operators (SAOs) have operationalized 425 UDAN routes including airports/heliports/water aerodromes across the country. SAOs have been operating many routes even after completion of three years of exclusivity period under the scheme. However, COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the aviation sector, including domestic RCS flight operations but the government introduced certain policy reforms for sustainability of operations of RCS-UDAN post COVID 19.
Promoting affordability of regional air connectivity is envisioned under RCS by supporting SAOs through concession by Central Government, State Governments/UTs and airport operators to reduce the cost of airline operations on regional routes and financial (Viability Gap Funding or VGF) support to meet the gap between the cost of airline operations and expected revenues on such RCS routes. Central and State Governments share Viability Gap Funding (VGF) in the ratio of 80:20 whereas for the States in North-Eastern region/Union Territories (UT''s) the ratio is 90:10.