Flying to Smaller Cities to be Mandatory Soon for Airlines

In an attempt to increase regional connectivity, the civil aviation ministry is working on a proposal to make it mandatory for airlines to deploy small aircraft to smaller cities. The proposals, currently in the works, include making connectivity to smaller cities mandatory under the route dispersal guidelines (RDG) by changing its current allocation norms. “The growth of aviation has not touched a lot of towns and cities in the country that do not have proper airport but have a lot of potential in terms of providing a market and can contribute to the next wave of growth in the sector. These cities can only be connected through smaller aircraft and we are looking to make it mandatory under the RDG,” said a senior ministry official.

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He said that civil aviation minister Ajit Singh is taking keen interest on the issue. “Among the options, it was discussed that mandatory limit should be introduced in the category III cities clause or a segment be created,” the official added. According to existing RDG, the government

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categorises routes into three categories in a bid to ensure airlines fly all routes. However, analysts feel the idea of regulating the sector does not make sense at a time when the airlines are in a bad financial state. “We need to reduce and not increase regulatory complexities,” said Kapil Kaul, CEO for Indian subcontinent at Centre for Asia Pacific and Aviation. The civil aviation ministry also has plans to auction air routes which connect smaller cities to boost regional connectivity. An Essential Air Services Fund or EASF will be created for paying the subsidy.

News source: Indian Express