New Delhi, Nov 14 (PTI) As many as 141 initial proposals for air services, including operating aircraft and helicopters, on 502 routes have been received under the second round of regional air connectivity scheme, the government said today.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the second round of bidding has attracted “very good response” and that 17 players have come up with initial proposals.

The ambitious scheme, where fares are capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights, seeks to connect unserved and under- served airports.

The initial proposals involve 502 routes that seek to connect a total of 126 airports and helipads. These include 49 unserved and 15 under-served airports as well as 24 helipads, according to the civil aviation ministry.

Out of the total proposals, 108 are for flying fixed wing aircraft and 33 for operating helicopters.

Details of the players were not disclosed.

Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said that for 20 proposals no viability gap funding have been sought by the bidders.

Operators participating in UDAN are eligible to get viability gap funding.

“UDAN is on right track,” Raju said citing the number of initial proposals received in the second round of bidding.

On November 16, these proposals would be put up for counter bidding and the players in the second round are likely to be declared by the third week of December.

In the first round of bidding under the scheme, also known as Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN), 128 routes that would connect 70 airports were awarded to five airlines. Some of the routes are already operational.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.