The Union government on Friday launched its most ambitious scheme UDAN meant to provide affordable air travel to common man in small towns.
Minister for Civil aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State Jayant Sinha announced the scheme which has been named ‘Udey Desh ka Aam Nagrik’.
UDAAN scheme offers fixed all-inclusive fares at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights covering the distance of 500km and chopper flights of upto 30 minutes duration. There will be up to 40 subsidised seats in an aircraft under the scheme to facilitate affordable air travel.
The government expects the first flight under RCS (regional connectivity scheme) to take off by the end of this year or early January 2017.
“Expect airports to be connected and flights to commence from January 2017,” said Ashok Gajapati Raju.
Besides capping ticket prices, the scheme seeks to provide air services between un-served and under-served areas.
Under the scheme, government also plans to upgrade 50 un-served and underserved airports in the country, which would further boost air connectivity pan-India as on today there are 394 un-served and 16 under-served airports.
“UDAN will be remunerative for airlines operators, yet affordable for masses. New category ‘Scheduled Commuter Operator’ being created under UDAN, to bring in more operators,” said MoS Jayant Sinha
The Minister said that government is aiming to add 50 more airports and connect them to bigger cities and towns in 4 years and increase ticketing volume from 80 million to 300 million by 2022. Government said that innovative market-based mechanism will allow them to keep prices at lower rates under UDAN.