The aam aadmi can look forward to fly at fares as low as Rs 2,500 with the government set to give wings on Friday to its ambitious regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Udey Desh Ka Aam Nagrik).
The government had on July 1 unveiled the draft scheme, which fixed all-inclusive fares at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights in its attempt to make flying affordable for the common man.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju is expected to announce the final contours of UDAN scheme on October 21, sources said.
Besides capping ticket prices, the scheme seeks to provide air services between unserved and under-served areas and is part of larger plans to boost the domestic aviation sector, which is clocking over 20 per cent passenger growth since more than a year now, with the number of passengers flown by the Indian carriers surging to 23.46 per cent in September.
The government expects the first flight under RCS (regional connectivity scheme) to take off by the end of this year or early January 2017.
Global airlines grouping International Air Transport Association, in its latest 20 years forecast, has projected that India would add 322 new fliers in its total 442 million air passengers by 2035.
Under the scheme, government also plans to upgrade 50 unserved and undeserved airports in the country, which would further boost air connectivity pan-India.
There are 394 unserved and 16 under-served airports.
A slew of incentives are being proposed in the RCS apart from the Rs 2,500 airfares. Airlines under RCS will be extended viability gap funding (VGF) while the states concerned are required to offer certain concessions such as providing police and fire services free of cost.
VGF will be created by way of charging a small levy per departure on all domestic flights on certain routes and small aircraft below 80 seats. Central and state governments will be sharing the VGF amount.
The government has already in notified August excise duty of 2 per cent for jet fuel purchased from airports that come under RCS, which is part of the new civil aviation policy.