Calling UDAN the most successful scheme of Modi govt, Ajay Singh said that UDAN has not only been noble but a commercially viable initiative.
Budget carrier SpiceJet, the biggest winner of Narendra Modi government’s affordable air travel scheme UDAN, is looking to expand further under the programme, planning to launch more discounted flights to the state of Kerala, CEO Ajay Singh said on Thursday at an event. SpiceJet also gave a glimpse of further expansion opportunities, with Ajay Singh saying that the religious destinations such as Kishangarh are ‘incredible’.
Calling UDAN the most successful scheme of Modi govt, Ajay Singh said that UDAN has not only been noble but a commercially viable initiative. “The impact [of the scheme] has been tremendous”, Ajay Singh said. He pointed out the government’s ambitious plan to double the number of operational airports to 150 from 75 before the launch of UDAN. “States need to recognise that aviation is the fillip to economy and tourism of the state,” he added.
SpiceJet has grabbed most routes awarded under the scheme. UDAN, short for ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik’, is a scheme to boost regional air connectivity with private carriers operating short flights at government-subsidised airfares.
Ajay Singh suggested states to take measures to improve the condition of the aviation industry. “They should reduce the VAT on aviation fuel. They should make markets viable and financially attractive to us. The states are competing with each other, there is no hiding of that,” he said in response to a question.
Using examples of UP and Karnataka states, which give concessions on flights with no direct connectivity to the destination, Ajay Singh said that the states must subsidise the travels and come up with a similar policy.
Recently, Andaman and Nicobar have joined UP and Karnataka. Exemplifying Maldives’ policy of involving hotels, Ajay Singh said that the state govt must include hotels to enhance the tourism industry. He said that the states tax themselves if they increase VAT as it keeps people away from them.
SpiceJet has recently received rights to operate international flights under UDAN from Guwahati to Dhaka and Bangkok. Ajay Singh also said that their recently announced route which offers Delhi, Calcutta and Hyderabad connectivity to Orissa’s Jharsuguda has great potential.