UDAN for the common man: 5 airlines to fly on 128 routes to link 70 airports

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Aircrafts_of_IndiaIn a bid to make air travel affordable, the government announced 128 routes that would be connected by five airlines under its regional connectivity scheme UDAN.

UDAN (Ude desh ka aam nagrik) is a Regional Connectivity Scheme that would connect 70 airports out of which 31 are unserved and 12 underserved. For the uninitiated, an unserved airport is one where flights don’t operate daily and an underserved airport is one where only one flight takes off on a day.

Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju officially announced this scheme on twitter. “#UDAN network will cover the whole country, giving a major economic boost to hinterland areas. New routes announced today #TransformingIndia

The scheme would make air travel cheaper for the common man as half of the seats in the flights would be capped at Rs. 2500. However, this would be only applicable for a travel distance of less than 500 km, i.e. a distance time of an hour. Thus, Rs. 2500 will be charged for a travel time of one hour.

“Flying was a rich man’s prerogative earlier, but now it has also become a common man’s prerogative,” said Raju. Various airlines were in a race of bidding for the routes, out of them five major airlines won the bidding which included Alliance Air, SpiceJet, Air Deccan, Air Odisha, TruJet (Turbo Megha). Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said criteria for selecting the winning bidders was based on the level of viability gap funding each of them had on per seat basis. Subsidies amounting to Rs.206 crore would be given by the government in order to make the scheme successful. Various routes that would be connected through UDAN are Delhi-Kanpur; Delhi-Shimla; Delhi-Agra; Mumbai-Porbandar; Kolkata-Jamshedpur.

“Within 4-6 months, all these new regional flights will become operational. UDAN will have a positive effect on the economy, in terms of employment and investment.” Raju added.