New Delhi, Jan 7 (PTI) With the Centre finalising bids for the Guwahati-Dhaka and Guwahati-Bangkok routes, the Assam’s largest city is likely to be the first to be connected internationally under the UDAN scheme, a senior official said Monday.
While multiple bids were received by the government on these two routes, there were no takers for four other destinations — Singapore, Yangon in Myanmar, Kathmandu in Nepal and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
“There was competition for these two cities. There were more than one bid. We have finalised the bid for Bangkok as well as Dhaka. The file is already with the minister, the day he signs it, we will announce,” said the aviation ministry official.
Under the UDAN scheme for affordable international connectivity, Assam government is likely to provide a subsidy of Rs 2,370 and Rs 4,400 for a certain number of seats on flights operating on the Guwahati-Dhaka and Guwahati-Bangkok routes, respectively.
“For the last one year they (Assam) have been pursuing the ministry and they have committed the funds. They are keen that whatever money is there should be used to bid for six destinations. We got the bids for two airports: Bangkok and Dhaka. For the remaining four, we got invalid bids,” said the official.
Under international mode of the UDAN scheme, the subsidy will come from the states and not the central government. Moreover, unlike the domestic scheme, no airline will be given exclusivity over a particular route under the international one.
On October 14 last year, the central government invited proposals from interested air operators for the international scheme as it seeks to enhance air connectivity from India to select overseas destinations.
The government, in an effort to make flying affordable, had in October 2016 announced the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme with airfares capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour journey through subsidised ticket rates and to provide air connectivity to smaller towns.
Five airlines were mandated to fly on 128 regional routes in the first phase of the bidding in March 2017, and 15 airlines on 325 regional routes, including those having chopper operations, in the second phase in January last year.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.