Civil Aviation Sector – CA Policy 2016, UDAN, Open Skies, etc.

Ministry of Civil Aviation launches UDAN 5.1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UDAN 5.1

Mains level: Read the attached story


Central Idea

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation has launched UDAN 5.1, an extension of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN), to enhance connectivity to remote areas of India.

What is UDAN 5.1?

  • This round specifically focuses on helicopter routes, aiming to achieve last mile connectivity.
  • It allows operators to operate routes where one of the origin or destination locations is in a priority area, such as hilly regions, islands, or North East states.

Features of the scheme

  • Expanded Scope of Operations: Operators can now operate routes where one of the origin or destination locations is in a priority area, compared to the previous requirement of both points being in priority areas.
  • Reduced Airfare Caps: Airfare caps for helicopter flights have been reduced by up to 25%, making flying in helicopters more affordable for passengers.
  • Increased Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Caps: VGF caps for operators using single and twin-engine helicopters have been substantially increased to enhance the financial viability of operating the awarded routes.
  • Coverage Expansion: UDAN 5.1 aims to cover a significantly larger number of routes compared to previous rounds, further extending the benefits of air connectivity to unserved regions.

Importance of UDAN 5.1

  • Democratization of Air Travel and Last-Mile Connectivity: UDAN 5.1 reflects the deeper democratization of air travel, with a focus on providing last-mile connectivity to remote regions of India.
  • Consultations and Stakeholder Engagement: The current version of the scheme has been designed after extensive consultations with all stakeholders, including helicopter operators.

Way Forward

  • Successful Implementation: Ensure effective implementation of UDAN 5.1, considering the expanded scope of operations, reduced airfare caps, and increased VGF caps.
  • Collaboration with Operators: Foster collaboration and engagement with helicopter operators to optimize last-mile connectivity and promote the growth of the helicopter segment in the civil aviation industry.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Establish a robust monitoring and evaluation mechanism to assess the impact of UDAN 5.1 on remote regions, air travel affordability, and economic development.
  • Promoting Tourism: Leverage the increased helicopter penetration to boost tourism in remote areas, thereby supporting the hospitality industry and local economies.
  • Future Expansion: Continuously assess the potential for further expansion of the UDAN scheme, considering new routes and modes of transportation to improve connectivity to underserved regions of India.


Back2Basics:All Versions of UDAN Scheme

Launch Date Focus Category Distance Length Cap Viability Gap Funding Cap Exclusivity Period
UDAN 1.0 April 27, 2017 Category 1 (19-78 Seats) 500 km 70% for Cat-1, 90% for Hilly States, J&K, Ladakh, NE and Island regions 3 years 10 years
UDAN 2.0 November 16, 2018 Category 1 (19-78 Seats) 500 km Same as UDAN 1.0 3 years 10 years
UDAN 3.0 November 8, 2019 Category 1 (19-78 Seats) 800 km Same as UDAN 1.0 3 years 10 years
UDAN 4.0 December 3, 2020 Category 1 (19-78 Seats) 1,200 km Same as UDAN 1.0 1 year 10 years
UDAN 5.0 September 1, 2021 Category 2 (20-80 Seats) and 3 (>80 Seats) No restriction 60% for Priority Areas, 20% for Non-Priority Areas 1 year 10 years



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