Narendra Modi flags off first UDAN flight at Shimla airport

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday flagged off the first UDAN flight under Regional Connectivity Scheme, on Shimla-Delhi sector at Shimla airport. UDAN, or Uda Desh Ka Aam Naagrik, simply translates to ‘Let the common man fly’. The scheme aims to boost regional connectivity, while providing low-cost air tickets to the customers.

The inaugural Shimla-Delhi flight offers ticket at starting price of Rs 2,036.

Underserved and unserved airports across the nation would be selected under the UDAN scheme. The airfares would be subsidised by the Central as well as state governments and the ticket cost is expected to start from Rs 2,000.

“Airfare for a one-hour journey of approximately 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30-minute journey on a helicopter would be capped at Rs 2,500,” the statement released by PMO said. “This with proportionate pricing for routes of different stage lengths and flight duration,” it further said.

All about UDAN

Under the scheme, nearly 50 percent of the seats on every flight will cost Rs 2,500 per seat while the aviation ministry will fund the subsidy by charging a landing fee on airlines operating on the trunk routes. During the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off three flights on the Shimla-Delhi sector, the Kadapa-Hyderabad and the Nanded-Hyderabad sectors.

The UDAN network will cover the whole country, giving a major economic boost to hinterland areas. The ambitious scheme was launched by the government to provide connectivity to unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying more affordable. The scheme envisages providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through the revival of existing airstrips and airports and would be in operation for a period of 10 years.

It also ensures affordability, connectivity, growth and development and is believed to provide a win-win situation for all stakeholders while citizens would get the benefit of affordability, connectivity and more jobs. The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Government of India released the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 (NCAP 2016). One of the objectives of NCAP 2016 is to “enhance regional connectivity through fiscal support and infrastructure development”.

UDAN Scheme- Quick look

Mode of Transportation Flight
Fare Rs 2500
No. of seats 9-40 per user
Total available seats 50% of the total seats
Scheme announcement October 2016

About the UDAN scheme:

1. The Civil Aviation Ministry had declared the scheme in October 2016.
2. Under this scheme, a traveller can buy tickets at Rs 2500 only.This price is valid for one-hour flight journeys only.
3. A total of 70 airports across India will be connected under this scheme.
4. A single user can book from a minimum of 9 to maximum 40 seats under this scheme.
5. The Rs 2500 price is not for all the seats available in the flights. The traveller will get 50% off only if he/she has taken the scheme. If the seats are not booked under the scheme, the traveller will have to pay the price of the ticket as per market rates.
6. Rs 2500 is the ceiling price under this scheme and no other charges will be levied on this price while availing this offer.
7. The operators are Air India subsidiary Airline Allied Services, SpiceJet, Air Deccan, Air Odisha and Turbo Megha. They would be operating 19-78 seater aircraft.
8. 13 airports in Tier II and Tier III cities which did not have many flights in a week will see more flights. The airports that would be connected under UDAN include Bhatinda, Puducherry and Shimla
9. On each such route, the minimum frequency would be three and maximum of seven departures per week.
10. Route networks would also be encouraged under the scheme to achieve economies of scale and optimal usage of aircraft.

As the Indian economy grows, consumption-led growth in populated metros is expected to spill over to hinterland areas. In this context, one of the key objectives of NCAP 2016 is to “establish an integrated eco-system which will lead to significant growth of civil aviation sector, which in turn would promote tourism, increase employment and lead to a balanced regional growth”



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