Separate bidding for connecting iconic tourist places under UDAN scheme: Aviation Ministry

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New Delhi | Published: July 5, 2018 12:51:25 AM

To provide air connectivity to popular tourist sites in the country, a separate bidding would be conducted under the UDAN scheme, the Civil Aviation Ministry said today.

UDAN, AVIATION SECTOR, AVIATION INDUSTRYUnder the scheme, the Centre along with the respective state governments provides VGF. Airlines are awarded sectors through a bidding process. (PTI)

To provide air connectivity to popular tourist sites in the country, a separate bidding would be conducted under the UDAN scheme, the Civil Aviation Ministry said today.

The template for the bidding has been prepared and the process will be initiated once the viability gap funding (VGF) from the Tourism Ministry is finalised, a Civil Aviation Ministry official, Usha Padhee, said at a tourism investors meet here.

She, however, did not elaborate on the separate bidding process.

UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying more affordable.

Under the scheme, the Centre along with the respective state governments provides VGF. Airlines are awarded sectors through a bidding process.

The Civil Aviation Ministry had earlier indicated that the 12 sites identified for development under the “iconic tourist sites project” by the Tourism ministry could be considered for providing air connectivity. They include the most visited sites such as Khajuraho, Ajanta-Elora, Hampi and Kaziranga.

Padhee said both the ministries are working in tandem for increasing connectivity to tourist places and would be meeting every quarter to resolve connectivity-related issues.

The country’s civil aviation sector, she said, is growing at the rate of over 20 per cent and more than 30 per cent in the northeastern region.

The northeastern region, she said, would have a separate UDAN-international scheme soon. Flights from places such as Guwahati will be connected to destinations in the neighbouring countries.
The Assam government has already committed Rs 100 crore as viability gap funding for the success of the programme.

Responding to queries especially in regards to Khajuraho, a destination ignored by airlines despite having an operational airport, she said a “market driven demand” needed to be created for airlines to operate on daily basis.

The government, she said, cannot interfere with the commercial decisions of the airlines. Khajuraho is a typical case where air connectivity has remained poor despite a well developed airport as demands are season specific.

She asked the industry to develop a business model which can attract both scheduled and non-scheduled operators to connect tourist destinations such as Khajuraho on a regular basis.

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