12-Feb-2020 Source: HeliHub.com
The Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation has made its first route award under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN-RCS) to a helicopter operator. Heritage Aviation will now operate a service between Sahastradhara helipad in Dehradun with routes to Gauchar and Chinyalisaur. HeliHub.com understands that the company will be operating their Agusta AW109E Power on this route – and the aircraft is seen in the background of the image below, under the green flag.
The service was inaugurated last week by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, and Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation Pradeep Singh Kharola. Certain routes Uttarakhand intended to boost the regional connectivity in the Himalayan state are better served by helicopter than fixed wing.
Heritage Aviation will fly twice daily from Sahastradhara to Gauchar and Chinyalisaur. The Viability Gap Funding (VGF) is given under UDAN for the service will ensure the fares are kept to a reasonable level, and the Uttarakhand state government is also offering additional incentives as well.
The routes will not only give a big push to the tourism sector in Uttarakhand but will also assist the Char Dham Yatra pilgrims. Gauchar is located on the way towards Badrinath, and Chinyalisaur is situated on the route towards Gangotri in the Uttarkashi district.
UDAN-RCS Regional Connectivity Scheme – the background
In 2016, a new National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 was released by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to “enhance regional connectivity through fiscal support and infrastructure development”. This led to the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) being launched in 2017, bringing with it incentives such as lower fuel tax at particular regional airports to encourage route development. The RCS program continues to work through bidding rounds, with the fourth tranche completed in December 2019. A total of 688 routes have been awarded under the first three RCS rounds, and 236 of those had commenced operations by early December 2019. RCS4 also permitted helicopter and seaplane operators to bid, the first of which is seen here. Read more at https://www.civilaviation.gov.in/rcs
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
Photo from Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India