In a move to boost regional air connectivity, the Union Cabinet today gave its approval to extending the time and scope for the revival and development of unserved and underserved air strips under the jurisdiction of various organisations.
A Civil Aviation Ministry release said that these air strips are being administered by various state governments, the Airports Authority of India (AAI), civil enclaves, central public sector undertakings (CPSUs) and include helipads and water aerodromes.
"The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for extension of time and scope for revival and development of unserved and underserved air strips of state governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI), civil enclaves, CPSUs, helipads and water aerodromes at the total cost of Rs 4,500 crore with the budgetary support of government of India," it said.
The Ministry said it has received overwhelming response from airlines in the two rounds of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) bidding held so far.
"In the first round of UDAN bidding, 128 routes were assigned to five airline operators for 43 unserved or underserved airports on March 31,2017," it said.
"The response from airline operators have considerably improved in second round of RCS bidding wherein 86 proposals involving 325 routes were awarded to 15 selected airline operators in January, 2018."
It also said the revival of airstrips or airports will be "demand driven", depending on commitment from airline operators, as well as from the state governments, for providing various concessions "as airports will be developed without insisting on its financial viability."