The Ministry of Civil Aviation has launched the 5.1 version of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) - Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) to enhance the connectivity to remote areas of the country and achieve last mile connectivity through helicopters. This round has been designed specifically for helicopter routes. 

The Ministry highlighted that airfare caps have been reduced by as much as 25 percent to make flying in helicopters more affordable for passengers. It further said that Viability Gap Funding (VGF) caps for the operators have been increased substantially for both single and twin-engine helicopters to enhance financial viability for operating the awarded routes.

Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya M. Scindia said that the latest round of UDAN scheme is a testament to two emerging phenomena in Indian civil aviation. First, a deeper democratisation of air travel with a focus on

last-mile connectivity. Second, a growing appetite for helicopters in aiding tourism.  He said that greater helicopter penetration through such efforts will help boost tourism, hospitality, and thus, the country's local economies. 

The Minister said that UDAN 5.1 heralds a new dawn not just for civil aviation, but also for India’s remote and unserved regions.

The Ministry said that as of now, 46 helicopter routes have been operationalized under previous rounds of the scheme benefitting a number of hilly and North East states. The Ministry said that under the UDAN scheme passengers have received the benefit of air connectivity, airlines have received concessions for operating regional routes, and unserved regions have received the direct and indirect benefits of air connectivity for their economic development. 

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