IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi Int'l) Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai Int'l) and Zoom Air (India) (ZOM, Delhi Int'l) have joined the ranks of Indian airlines applying for traffic rights under the second round of bidding of the Indian Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN), PTI newswire has reported.

According to an unnamed official quoted by PTI, a total of eighteen airlines have applied for rights to operate 502 routes connecting 126 airports and helipads. Out of these airports, forty-nine are currently not served by a commercial airline. Twenty-five bids are not seeking a viability gap funding (VGF), a subsidy provided by the national and regional governments.

IndiGo Airlines and Jet Airways, two largest Indian carriers by capacity, did not apply for UDAN routes in the first round of bidding, concluded in April 2017. Neither of them is seeking a VGF subsidy.

PTI also revealed that SpiceJet (SG, Delhi Int'l) has also applied in the second round of bidding. The airline already secured eleven routes in the first round of bidding out of Delhi Int'l, Mumbai Int'l, Hyderabad Int'l and Jaipur.

Airports Authority of India expects to announce selected airlines and issue Letters of Award (LoA) to them on December 21, 2017.

The UDAN scheme aims to improve connectivity of underserved airports throughout India, particularly in rural areas. Airlines are obliged to cap the fares of 50% of the seats at INR2,500 (USD39) per hour of flight. During the first round of bidding a total of 128 routes connecting seventy airports, including thirty-one previously unserved, have been awarded to five airlines: Air Odisha, Air Deccan (2003), TruJet, Alliance Air (India) and SpiceJet.