Affordable air-connectivity in the Inter-Island Sector: ACCI welcomes Decision

News courtesy Andaman Sheekha ::
Port Blair, Dec 11: The President Mr. Girish Arora and all Members of the Andaman Chamber of Commerce & Industry heartily welcome the decision of the A&N Administration to provide affordable air-connectivity in the Inter-Island Sector to provide additional incentives to the airline operators under Regional Connectivity Scheme – UDAN to encourage the Airline operators to introduce flights on the Inter-Island Sector. This will provide air connectivity between various Islands and people of these far flung Islands can reach these places at an affordable fare within the barest minimum time.
The UDAN Scheme is a key component of the Prime Minister of India’s National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on June 15, 2016., UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) is a regional airport development and “Regional Connectivity Scheme” (RCS) of Government of India, with the objective of “Let the common citizen of the country fly”, aimed at making air travel affordable and widespread, to boost inclusive national economic development, job growth and air transport infrastructure development of all regions and states/UTs of India. The scheme entails making the routes financially viable, without insisting on the financial viability of the regional airports, by lowering the cost of flight operations and through Value Gap Funding (VGF).
Under the Regional Connectivity Scheme of the Government of India, a ATR/Fixed Wing operator was only eligible to operate between airports of a minimum distance of 150 Kms. and Helicopters can avail this scheme for only sector having a minimum flying time of 30 minutes. The Chamber had taken up this matter to relax the provisions/yardsticks of the Scheme considering the geographical location of these Islands by 50 Kms. distance between Airports for ATR/Fixed Wing Aircraft and 10 minutes flying time for Helicopter/Seaplane.
They were happy to learn that the Scheme will be implemented in these Islands and Campbell Bay/Diglipur/Car Nicobar/Hut Bay can be connected through Fixed Wing Aircrafts and Seaplane service can be restored between Havelock and Neil Island in addition to the existing Helicopter services. This will help both Tourism and better connectivity to the local residents. They were also very much glad to hear that the proposed airfare will be less than the existing fare of helicopter services.
The Chamber of Commerce & Industry also delighted to hear that the VAT component on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) will be reimbursed by the Administration in the Island –Mainland sector. This is the only place in India where the A&N Administration has taken a progressive/encouraging step considering the remoteness of these Islands and granted incentive on account of reimbursement of the VAT component to the Airline Operators. This will definitely increase the frequency of flights and encourage the Airline Operators to introduce additional flights on the Island-Mainland Sector which will facilitate more competitive low airfare on the sector. This will also certainly increase the inflow of tourists to these Islands rapidly.
“The Andaman Chamber of Commerce & Industry is very much thankful to the Lt. Governor, the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary (Civil Aviation) and all Officers of the Civil Aviation Department/Administration in taking such progressive steps by studying the actual difficulties faced by the people of these Islands in-depth and resolving it in a time bound manner. We expect such fruitful decision on various issues in future also,” a press release by Girish Arora, President of ACCI said here today.

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