In an effort to add to the wings of the government’s flagship UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme, the ruling establishment at the Centre has expanded the civil aviation sector significantly over the last few years under the stewardship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Expanding its ambitious plan further, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has informed: “As on 31/01/2023, a total number of 73 unserved and unserved airports, including 9 heliports and 2 water aerodromes, have been operationalised since 2017 under the UDAN scheme.
In a bid to boost the infrastructure of aviation sector which is soaring to new heights in domestic traffic having year-on-year growth of 48.9 percent, the Central government has approved the “Revival Of Unserved And Under-served Airports” scheme for the refurbishment and development of 100 unserved and under-served airports, helipad and water aerodromes by 2024, the ministry said in its statement.
Under the UDAN scheme, the unserved and underserved airports or airstrips, namely Ludhiana, Adampur, Bhatinda and Pathankot, have been identified in the state of Punjab till the completion of four rounds of bidding.
The Selected Airline Operators started UDAN flight operations from the Ludhiana, Adampur, Bhatinda and Pathankot airports.
According to the statement of the ministry, Viability Gap Finance amount, a grant to support projects that are economically justified but not financially viable, of Rs 2355 crore has been released to Selected Airline Operators as on 31.01.2023 for the operation of UDAN flights.
Aiming at zooming out the regional air connectivity and enhancing facilities for flyers, the government has decided to develop 100 airports by 2024 to support the UDAN scheme and planned to operationalise 1,000 routes across India.
UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) was launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on October 21, 2016 to widen regional air connectivity and make air travel affordable as well as accessible to the people hailing from all economic strata of society.
As UDAN is a market driven scheme, interested airlines on the basis of their assessment of the market potential on particular routes, put up proposals at the time of bidding.
Earlier Minister of State for Civil Civil Aviation Gen. (retired) V. K. Singh said the Airports Authority of India and other airport operators work continuously for upgradation of airports.
According to the ministry, Airport Authority of India and other airport operators have pegged at nearly Rs 98,000 crore for the expansion and modernisation of existing terminals, strengthening of runways, construction of Greenfield Airports and new terminals, among other activities, across the country by 2025.
50 additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes, and advanced landing grounds will be facelifted for augmenting regional air connectivity and enhancing passengers’ experience, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her Budget presentation.