India's Ministry of Civil Aviation has unveiled the first batch of seventy-eight domestic routes awarded under its Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) or alternatively Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN).

Administered by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the RCS programme aims to increase the penetration of air travel among India's working and middle classes by subsidizing flights to the country's 400+ underserved Tier II and III cities. Financing for the flights is through a system of financial incentives including Central and State government concessions and Viability Gap Funding (VGF). The latter will be raised through the taxation of scheduled commercial flights between India's Tier I city airfields which include Delhi Int'l, Mumbai Int'l, Chennai, Hyderabad Int'l, Bengaluru/Bangalore Int'l, and Kolkata Int'l.

Initial RCS projections show the fare for a one-hour journey of approximately 500 kilometres on a fixed-wing aircraft, or a 30-minute journey on a helicopter, will be capped at INR2,500 (USD36.45), with proportionate pricing for routes of different lengths/duration.

During a press conference on Thursday, March 30, Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey said VGF would amount to INR2.05 billion rupees (USD31.6 million) for this round of routes which have been awarded to five operators including Air India unit Alliance Air, Deccan Charters, Air Odisha, TruJet, and SpiceJet.

Airlines will operate 19- to 78-seater turboprops on the routes. They will cover 50% of a flight's load with a minimum of nine and maximum of forty seats for fixed-wing aircraft, and a minimum of five and maximum of thirteen seats for rotary-wing aircraft. According to The Times of India, SpiceJet did not apply for any VGF.

As per a presentation made by the Indian Minister of Civil Aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, the following airlines have been awarded the following routes:

Carriers are to begin servicing the specified routes later next month with all routes to be active by September 2017.