Millennium Post

Aviation ministry may allow foreign airlines to fly under Udan scheme

The Ministry of Civil Aviation is going to throw open flight operations under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) to foreign airlines. According to sources in the ministry, the rules will be changed to facilitate entry of fully foreign-funded airlines to enter into the bidding of unserved and underserved categories.

"We have already initiated the procedure to amend the rules related to Civil Aviation industry to ensure foreign airlines can apply to operate flights under RCS to expand the civil aviation sector," said a senior officer of Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Necessary amendments will be made to provide freedom to foreign professionals to have more say at the top level management in airline companies.

"Presently, both Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company should be Indian national but after amendment, the airline companies will be required to reserve only one post for Indian national," added the officer.

These rules are being changed in pursuance to the decision of Central government to allow 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment in Civil Aviation sector.

"Immediately after the amendment, the Indian airlines will be able raise funds for their expansion through FDI in around six months time. But, it will take around two years for a foreign airline to start flight operations in India," added the officer.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation will open the financial bidding for new air routes on February 2, and launch the first phase of the RCS by mid February.

In its expression of interest for connecting un-served and underserved airports, the ministry had received 43 initial proposals from 11 bidders covering 190 UDAN routes.

The airlines have expressed interests in starting flights from 50 un-served airports, regular flights from 12 underserved airports and increasing frequency at 30 served airports.
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