Udan Expanded To 325 More Routes; Indigo Biggest Benefactor After Round 2 Bidding!
The new routes will now connect far-flung hilly regions of the North-East and Jammu & Kashmir.
UDAN or Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik was an innovative aviation scheme announced in 2016, and officially launched last year. Under Udan, flight charges are capped at Rs 2500/hr, and in turn, flight operators receive subsidies for operating low-cost flights.
The main purpose of Udan was to connect rural hinterland with main cities using air-travel as a means and to utilise hundreds of airports which have been opened but seldom used.
In 2016, there were 400 airports which hadn’t witnessed a single flight in their last two air-schedule.
In the last one year, Udan scheme has witnessed some massive success, and this has prompted the Civil Aviation Ministry to expand the routes under their round two of bidding.
Indigo has emerged as the biggest benefactor of this new allocations, as they grabbed 20 new routes.
Udan’s Route Expanded: Now 515 Routes Covered
Under Round 2 of the bidding, Civil Aviation Ministry has awarded 325 new routes to flight operators who had shown interest in the bidding process. When Udan was launched, it had 190 routes, which has now increased to 515 routes.
Govt. was pleasantly surprised when besides new airlines, helicopter operators too showed interest in the Udan flights and successfully bid for new routes.
Overall, 56 new airports and helipads are now connected under Udan schemes to 36 aerodromes.
For the time, 4 helicopter operators have successfully bid for operating Udan flights, under Regional Connectivity Scheme or RCS.
Under Udan, Rs 2500 is the fixed charge for per hour of flight, while for helicopters, it is Rs 2500 for 30 minutes of flight.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said,
“We are going to witness tremendous momentum in subsequent rounds as well of UDAN, it is an innovative one-in-a-kind market mechanism which we have developed in India and it has brought in a revolution,”
Overall, 29 lakh new passengers can be fly using Udan, every year.
Which Sates Receives New Routes?
The emphasis of Round 2 of bidding under Udan was to expand rural connectivity in hilly regions, and this is the reason Uttrakhand, North Eastern states, along with J&K has received maximum new routes.
While Uttrakhand received 15 new routes, UP received 9, Arunachal Pradesh 8, Himachal Pradesh 6 and Assam and Manipur 5 each.
In coming months, under Round 3 of bidding, 41 airports and helipads across Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and Uttarakhand would be connected with the main routes.
While Rs 200 crore budget was allocated for Udan last year, this year, Rs 500 crore has been planned.
The Minister said,
“Since independence, we had 75 airports in connected by scheduled airlines. UDAN 1 and 2 have added around 80 airports in the country. UDAN 2 has also addressed the problem of (poor air connectivity) to difficult areas..’
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