New Delhi, May 4: In an endeavour to make regional connectivity easy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the maiden flight between Shimla and New Delhi under government’s UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme. Currently, UDAN flights on Delhi-Shimla, Nanded-Hyderabad and Kadapa-Hyderabad sectors are available. The UDAN Scheme is a Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) of the Ministry of Aviation, Government of India. UDAN Scheme will make air travel to and from smaller towns affordable.
Under the scheme, 43 cities are expected to be mainstreamed on India’s flight connectivity grid. The scheme seeks to connect unserved and underserved airports and provides for capping of fares at Rs. 2,500 per hour and is going to connect 70 airports across the nation. Currently, airlines are required to offer 50 per cent of total seats on an aircraft at discounted fares while the number of discounted seats should be at least nine and should not exceed 40.
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. This means that the Rs 2500 is the ceiling price under this scheme and no other charges will be levied on this price while availing this offer.
Selected Flights for UDAN Scheme
- Airline Allied Services (Alliance Air).
- Turbo Megha Airways.
- Air Deccan.
- Air Odisha.
Booking Procedure under UDAN
- You can book tickets under the UDAN scheme online from the websites of the above-mentioned airlines.
- A traveller can also book tickets through different air ticket vendors like Yatra and MakeMyTrip
- At the moment an airline operating under UDAN is entitled to a subsidy on a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 40 seats on a flight.
- 50% of the seats would be available for booking at maximum Rs 2500 per seat for an hour on each flight.
Airline Operators of UDAN
The Government awarded five airlines Air Odisha, Air Deccan, Alliance Air, SpiceJet and Trujet the right to operate UDAN flights in its first round of bidding, which ended in March this year
- Alliance Air, Air Deccan, SpiceJet, Air Odisha and True Jets.
- The five airlines have won bids to operate on 128 routes that would connect 70 airports. Out of these, 31 are unserved and 12 under-served airport.
- Air Odisha would operate on 50 routes, Air Deccan on 34, Turbo Megha Airways on 18, Air India subsidiary Alliance Air on 15 and SpiceJet on 11 routes.
Air travel fair under UDAN Scheme
- Under the UDAN scheme, the maximum fare charges been set at Rs 2500 for a one-hour journey.
- The journey would be about 500 kilometres on an aircraft or for a 30-minute journey on a helicopter.
A little over half of the seats in the Shimla-bound flight, operated by Air India subsidiary Alliance Air are being sold at the discounted fare of Rs 2,036, inclusive of taxes. On the flight to Shimla, 24 seats are sold at the discounted ticket price and for the rest, fares would be market driven. In the return leg, all the 15 seats come under the UDAN fare bucket.
UDAN Flight Routes
- Airlines operating under the UDAN scheme have to ensure that at least 50 percent of the seats on their flights are available at a price of Rs 2,500 for an hour of flying.
- The Centre and state provide viability gap funding for airlines operating on the UDAN routes to ensure profitability of these flights.
- All UDAN flight routes are to become operational in a phased manner. At present, UDAN flights on Delhi-Shimla, Nanded-Hyderabad, and Kadapa-Hyderabad sectors are available.
Routes On Which UDAN Scheme can be Availed
Per flight seating capacity according to the UDAN scheme
The seating capacity in each flight selected for UDAN scheme will range between 19 to 78 and even 50% of the total seats. The price for each seat will be capped to Rs 2500. The first regional flight under the scheme was flagged off between Shimla and Delhi from Jubbarhatti, the tabletop airport located 2,196 meters above the sea level and 22 km from Himachal Pradesh capital Shimla.
Union Minister Jayant Sinha said that under the Central Government’s ambitious initiative UDAN Scheme, the government is preparing for constructing additional 100 airports over the next 2-3 years. As the Indian economy grows, consumption-led growth in populated metros is expected to spill over to hinterland areas.
The allocations under the UDAN scheme would be equitably spread across the five geographical regions of the country for a balanced growth across the nation. The aviation ministry is trying to encourage airlines to fly to unconnected smaller towns by levying a cess on their existing flights. The UDAN Scheme is likely to a give a major fillip to tourism and employment generation in the hinterland. The travel time in remote and hilly regions will be significantly reduced if this scheme is rolled in a full-fledged manner.
It has been mentioned in reports that the government is likely to revise the minimum number of seats on which it will give subsidy to airline operators for serving tier-II and tier-III cities under its regional connectivity scheme (RCS). As per details by an official of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the revised norms will be applicable for the second phase of RCS, which is likely to commence within the next three months.
Meanwhile, Air India’s subsidiary Alliance Air will lease 10 small aircraft from Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) as the airline looks to serve more routes under the government’s regional connectivity scheme, PTI reported. Alliance Air began the first flight under the scheme connecting Shimla with the national capital last week. It was also reported that Dubai Aerospace on Monday said it has signed long-term lease agreements for 10 ATR 72-600 aircraft with Alliance Air. A Dubai Aerospace said in a release mentioned that ten planes are scheduled to be delivered throughout this year.
The UDAN flights would connect 70 airports spread over 20 states and Union territories including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The airports that are likely to be connected under the scheme includes Bhatinda, Shimla, Bilaspur, Neyveli, Cooch Behar, Nanded and Kadapa.