The civil aviation ministry has decided to scrap the existing rule under which it is mandatory for domestic carriers to deploy 10% of their capacity to non-viable routes which include north eastern states, Jammu & Kashmir and Andaman & Nicobar Island.
Instead airlines wanting to fly designated routes which are considered non-viable will be given subsidy through the recently floated Essential Air Services Fund (EASF). This will be funded partly through central government budgetary support and partly by imposing a cess on passengers who are flying between the country’s metros. Also state governments will be asked to underwrite some seats on these routes to support the domestic carriers.
The list for non-viable routes (which are known as Category 2) apart from the current locations will be extended and re categorized to include other regional connections which do not make money currently.
The changes planned will be incorporated in a new regional connectivity policy which is expected to be announced with a month by the Government.