To boost regional air connectivity, the government has decided to develop one hundred airports by 2024 to support UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme. It also plans to operationalise 1,000 UDAN routes across India.
Under the UDAN scheme, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has identified 18 airports in Uttar Pradesh, 6 airports each in Rajasthan and Odisha. In Uttar Pradesh, six airports have been operationalised – Kanpur, Prayagraj, Kushinagar, Hindon, Agra, and Bareilly. In Rajasthan, three airports have been functionalised – Bikaner, Jaisalmer, and Kishangargh. In Odisha, Jeypore, Jharsuguda, and Rourkela have been operationalised.
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The government has also developed and operationalised nine heliports in the NSOP category under the UDAN scheme in Himachal Pradesh (Mandi and Rampur) and Uttarakhand (Almora, Chinyalisaur, Gaucher, Haldwani, New Tehri, Sahastradhara and Srinagar).
As on January 30, 2023, 459 UDAN routes involving 72 airports including nine heliports and two water aerodromes have been operationalised across the country. According to a written reply given in Lok Sabha, by MoS Ministry of Civil Aviation General VK Singh (Retd.), over 1.13 crore passengers have travelled in more than 2.16 lakh flights so far.
Presenting the Budget for FY 2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that 50 additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes, and advanced landing grounds will be revived for improving regional air connectivity.
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About UDAN scheme
UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) is a regional air connectivity scheme launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on October 21, 2016. The scheme aims to increase domestic air connectivity from unserved and underserved airports in the country and make air travel affordable to the public. It is a market-driven scheme. The interested airlines based on their assessment of demand on particular routes submit their proposals at the time of bidding under the scheme.