Making flying easier and affordable for the common man, PM Narendra Modi on Thursday launched the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme. He flagged off first UDAN flight under Regional Connectivity Scheme, on Shimla-Delhi sector. Inaugural UDAN flights on Kadapa–Hyderabad, and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors were also flagged off by him. Stating that the aviation sector in India is filled with opportunities, he said that lives of the middle-class are being transformed and their aspirations are increasing. He also added that earlier aviation was considered to be the domain of a select few but that is changing now. “We had the opportunity to frame a civil aviation policy, which caters to aspirations of the people of India,” he further said.
Under UDAN fares of flights will be capped at Rs 2500 per seat per hour. ‘UDAN’ is a first-of-its-kind scheme globally to stimulate regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism, the PMO had said in a tweet. “To make air travel accessible to citizens in regionally important areas, the ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik’ RCS (regional connectivity scheme) was launched in October 2016,” it added.
The UDAN Scheme is a key component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released on June 15, 2016. “Airfare for a 1-hour journey of appx. 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or for 30-minute journey on a helicopter would be capped at Rs. 2,500,” the PMO said. “This with proportionate pricing for routes of different stage lengths and flight duration,” it said. According to an official statement, 24 airports in the western region, 17 in the northern region, 11 in the southern region, 12 in east and 6 in north-eastern parts of the country are proposed to be connected under this scheme.
Recently Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju awarded 128 routes to a total of five operators under UDAN wherein fares are capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights. “UDAN network will cover the whole country, giving a major economic boost to hinterland areas,” the minister said. He also added that UDAN will have a positive effect on the economy, in terms of employment and investment.
Here’s a five-point guide about the scheme:
1) Over 45 unserved and under-served airports would be connected under the scheme — UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) that seeks to make flying more affordable.
2) The operators are Air India subsidiary Airline Allied Services, SpiceJet, Air Deccan, Air Odisha and Turbo Megha. They would be operating 19-78 seater aircraft.
3) 13 airports in Tier II and Tier III cities which did not have many flights in a week will see more flights. The airports that would be connected under UDAN include Bhatinda, Puducherry, and Shimla
4) On each flight, 50 per cent of the seats would have a cap of Rs 2,500 per seat/hour, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said. Under UDAN, the operators would be extended viability gap.
5) The amount is estimated to be around Rs 205 crore per annum for the operators chosen in the first round of bidding, Choubey added.