“Attention passengers, we are about to land at Umrangsu Lake in a short while.”
This announcement from a captain in the flight may become true in the near future, with the Centre inviting bids for developing Water Aerodrome at Umrangsu in Dima Hasao district of Assam.
This is part of the efforts to increase connectivity in the Northeast, as part of Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) 4.0 scheme. A water aerodrome is an area of open water used regularly by seaplanes or amphibious aircraft for landing and taking off.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has invited bids for 6 underserved and 24 unserved airports/airstrips, apart from the Water Aerodrome. The move will not only boost tourism but will also transform economic situation of the region. Under the UDAN 4.0 scheme, MoCA is also providing additional Viability Gap Funding (VGF) of around 25% to the airlines.
Airports available for bidding:
- Arunachal Pradesh – Alinya, Along, Daparizo, Mechuka, Tuting, Vijaynagar, Walong, Yinghiong, Ziro
- Assam –Chabua, Darrang, Dinjan, Ledo, Misa Mari, Nazira, Sadiya, Sorbhog, Sukerating (Dum Duma)
- Meghalaya –Dwara, Shella, Tura
- Tripura -Kailashahar, Kamalpur, Khowai
- Arunachal Pradesh –Passighat&Tezu
- Assam – Jorhat, Rupsi, Tezpur
- Meghalaya –Shillong
- Assam (water aerodrome) -Umrangso Reservoir
The Government will bear 90% of VGF and remaining 10% by North East state governments. Excise Duty at the rate of 2% only shall be levied on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), drawn by Selected Airline Operators at RCS Airport(s) for RCS Flights, for three (3) years from the date of notification. Reduction of VAT to 1% or less on ATF at RCS Concession Airports located within the State for a period of ten (10) years from the date of notification. Other incentives included provision of minimum land, if required, free of cost and free from all encumbrances for development of RCS. Concession Airports and also provide multi-modal hinterland connectivity (road, rail, metro, waterways, etc.) as required.
MoCA aims to operationalise 1000 routes and more than 100 airports in the next five years. This would be achieved by focusing on operationalising routes in Priority Areas. AAI would focus on developing the no-frills airport in the future and routes connecting such airports would be prioritised for the award of VGF. The market would be incentivised to develop short-haul routes only, providing connectivity to nearby airports.