Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday flagged off the first regional flight under the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme between Shimla and Delhi.
Under the scheme, the fares of flights will be capped at Rs 2500 per seat per hour.
“There was a lack of aviation policy in India in spite of being a large country. We now have the opportunity to create an aviation policy,” said PM Modi at the launch event.
“The lives of the middle class are being transformed and their aspirations are increasing. Given the right chance they can do wonders,” he said.
“Earlier aviation was considered to be the domain of a select few. That has changed now,” added PM Modi.
The maiden flight has been flagged off under the government's ambitious plan to provide connectivity to far and remote areas of the country.
Here are 10 things you need to know about the UDAN:
- On each flight, 50 per cent of the seats would have a cap of Rs 2,500 per seat/hour. Under UDAN, the operators would be extended viability gap funding.
- Aimed at letting the middle class avail the facility of air travel, the airfare for a one-hour journey of 500 km has been capped at Rs. 2,500, which will be an all-inclusive charge.
- For longer routes and flight duration, the pricing may vary. A single person can buy 9 to 40 seats in a flight.
- Five airline carriers – SpiceJet, Air Odisha, Air India subsidiary Airline Allied Services, Air Deccan, and Turbo Megha – will operate flight services on 128 routes that will connect 70 airports across the country.
- 24 airports in the western region, 17 in northern region, 11 in southern region, 12 in east and 6 in north-eastern parts of the country are proposed to be connected under this scheme.
- Three flights – on the Shimla-Delhi sector, the Kadapa-Hyderabad and the Nanded-Hyderabad sectors – have been flagged off from Jubbarhatti, an airport on the outskirts of Shimla.
- These flights would connect airports spread across over 20 states and union territories including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
- The airline estimates a total expenditure of Rs 4.06 lakh per return flight. However, the revenue it will be able to generate will be a mere Rs 2.64 lakh, including the viability gap funding from the Centre.
- The UDAN Scheme is a key component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on June 15, 2016.
- Over 45 unserved and under-served airports would be connected under the scheme – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik ) – that seeks to make flying more affordable.