Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the first flight from Shimla to Delhi, under government’s UDAN scheme tomorrow. UDAN or Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik was launched under Regional Connectivity Scheme(RCS), in October 2016. This move was aimed to make air travel accessible to citizens in regionally important areas. The ambitious scheme was launched, to provide connectivity to unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying more affordable. Simultaneously, PM Modi will also flag off the inaugural UDAN flights on Kadapa to Hyderabad and Nanded to Hyderabad sectors. The UDAN scheme is one of the first schemes all over the world, which stimulates regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism. Meanwhile, the first flight which will be inaugurated by the PM will be operated by Alliance Air, the regional arm of Air India.
The UDAN Scheme is a key component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released on June 15, last year. Here, airfare for a 1-hour journey of around 500 kilometres on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30-minute journey on a helicopter would be capped at Rs 2,500. This with proportionate pricing for routes of different stage lengths and flight duration. The government has also extended subsidy in the form of viability gap funding to the operators flying on these routes. Fulfilling Narendra Modi’s vision of regional connectivity, Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju awarded 128 routes to five operators under the UDAN scheme of the government.
Tomorrow PM @narendramodi will flag off the first UDAN flight under the Regional Connectivity Scheme, on Shimla-Delhi sector.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) April 26, 2017
Earlier, while talking about UDAN’s positive effect on the economy, in terms of employment and investment, Gajapathi Raju had said, “UDAN network will cover the whole country, giving a major economic boost to hinterland areas.” Meanwhile, MoS Aviation Jayant Sinha had said, “Criteria on the basis of which airlines were selected was the extent of VGF – viability gap funding – demanded by them. UDAN will stimulate the growth of regional aviation market in India.” Sinha had said that the scheme provides for various benefits including no airport charges and three-year exclusivity on the routes.
Here’s all you need to know 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.
— Ashok Gajapathi Raju (@Ashok_Gajapathi) March 30, 2017
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
— PIB India (@PIB_India) March 30, 2017
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 funding.
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.