UDAN takes off boosting Indian Aviation Industry.

70 Airports connects by five airlines to fly 128 routes.

More 100 airports to get developed to support UDAN scheme

What is UDAN?

UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) is an initiative of government of India by Prime minister Mr Narendra Modi to boost Aviation Industry in India by connecting the country’s smaller and bigger airports with the objective of ” Making possible for every common citizen of the country to fly” and aimed at making Air travel more affordable and widespread which will boost inclusive national economic , enables more job prospects as it would require more pilots, Cabin Crews ( Airhostess ) and airport ground staff and development of infrastructure for air transporters of all regions and states of India.

The UDAN scheme comprises two components. The first component is to develop new airports infrastructure to boost Aviation and enhance and modernize the existing regional airports to increase the number of operational airports in India. The second component is to add several hundred financially sound, capped-airfare, add new regional flight routes to connect more than 100 unserved airports in smaller towns with well operational and functioning airports in bigger cities.

Will the flights be easy on common man’s pocket?

As Aviation Industry in India is booming, while the scheme attempts to tackle the issue of ghost airports and being introduced with low air fare services, it also allows the reduction in travelling expenses. Almost 50 % seats on each flight will come at Rs 2,500 per passenger for an hour of travel. Which ultimately be feasible for every common man to fly.

Main features of the regional connectivity scheme, which is aimed at making flying affordable for the masses are:

  1. The regional connectivity scheme will be applicable on route length between 200 to 800 km with no lower limit set for hilly, remote, island and security sensitive regions.
  2. The Central government will provide concessions to the tune of 2 per cent excise on Value Added Tax (VAT) and service tax at 1/10th the rate and liberal code sharing for regional connectivity scheme airports.
  3. A Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) will be created to fund the scheme via a levy on certain flights. States are expected to contribute 20 per cent to the fund.
  4. For balanced regional growth, allocations will be spread rightly across 5 regions – North, West, South, East and North East with a cap of 25 percent.

Who will be operating these routes?

Five airlines have won bids to operate on 128 routes which will be connecting 70 airports. Out of the 70 airports, 12 under-served and 31 are unserved. While under-served airports are those which do not have more than a flight per day and unserved airports are those where there are no flight operations.

Airlines, including Air India subsidiary and SpiceJet won the bid to operate 128 routes. Out of which the Air India subsidiary Airline Allied Services won the bid for 15 routes, SpiceJet will be operating 11 routes. Air Odisha Aviation won the bids with 50 routes which is the maximum number under it’s wing followed by Air Deccan with 34 routes and Turbo Megha Airways with 18 routes. These carriers will be able to operate 19-78 seater aircraft.

IndiGo said it has started 14 new flights under regional connectivity scheme Udan from March 28, 2021 onwards. As per the press release, the carrier said it has started these flights on different routes of Bhopal-Allahabad, Bhubaneswar-Allahabad, Shillong-Agartala, Bhubaneswar-Varanasi, Shillong-Silchar and Dibrugarh-Dimapur.

While Fly big Airline was awarded routes under UDAN scheme to operate give flight services to Rupsi airport through a bidding process to operate flights on Guwahati- Rupsi-Kolkata route and back.

Under the RCS-UDAN project scheme, this affordable flying will ensured for all people, specially the lower income group population over short distances giving Indian Aviation a new face.

Which are the states being covered by UDAN?

These flights would connect airports spread across over 20 states and union territories including, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.

The airports that would be connected under UDAN include Bhatinda, Bilaspur, Shimla, , Neyveli, Nanded, Cooch Behar, and Kadapa.

“Connectivity in North East is given Special boost to routes from Guwahati to Tezu, Rupsi, Tezpur, Misa, Passighat and Shillong. People will be able to fly from Hissar to Chandigarh, Dehradun and Dharmshala under these UDAN routes. Routes from Varanasi to Chitrakoot and Shravasti have also been approved.

“The airports which had already been developed by Airport Authority of India are given top priority for the award of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under the Scheme. Under UDAN 4, the operation of helicopter and seaplanes is also been introduced. Since its inception, Also 274 UDAN routes has been operationalized that have connected 45 airports and 3 heliports.

What is International UDAN Scheme?

  • International UDAN is an extension scheme to domestic UDAN scheme. 
  • This  plan aims to connect India’s smaller cities directly to some prime neighborhood foreign destinations.
  • The government’s intention for such direct air connectivity was to promote the development of the every smaller city and the State by attracting business people and all tourists to travel through  smaller towns, instead of their flying through the metros.
  • Open Skies policy can be applied here, where in India and other Asian countries allows unlimited direct flights to and from 18 Indian destinations these nations.
  • To grow Aviation and encourage airlines  to participate in the scheme, the government has offered subsidy in terms of form of pre-decided payout per seat.
  • Airlines has to bid on the number of passenger seats per flight to fly for which such support is required.

Now UDAN are at “ready to fly situation” . The scheme also provides for various benefits including no airport charges and till three-years exclusivity on the routes.

Government Initiatives for other incentives given to the airlines are

  1. Only Excise Duty at the rate of 2% shall be levied on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), benefited by Selected Airline Operators at RCS Airport(s) for RCS Flights. 
  2. Minimum land shall be provided  free of cost if required and free from all encumbrances for development of RCS Concession Airports. Also provide multi-modal connectivity of road, rail, metro, waterways, etc. as required.
  3. Provision of electricity, water and other utility services at substantially concessional rates shall be provided to RCS Concession Airports.

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