UDAN to scale new heights as govt plans 1,000 new routes

The ministry of civil aviation has set a target of operationalising 100 unserved and underserved airports under the UDAN scheme

UDAN to scale new heights as govt plans 1,000 new routes
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep SIngh Puri while addressing a press conference in Raipur. Image courtesy: Twitter/@HardeepSPuri

Post-Covid India is likely to see a revolution in aviation services as the government is planning to expand the network of routes in a grand manner. According to reports, at least 1,000 new routes are being mulled by the government in an effort to directly link several cities.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said that his ministry has set a target of operationalising 100 unserved and underserved airports and starting at least 1,000 air routes under the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme. The minister also hinted that the future work will be done through privatisation. 

"My ministry has set a target to operationalise 100 unserved and underserved airports and start at least 1,000 air routes under the UDAN scheme," he said while addressing a press conference in BJP's state office in Raipur over the Union Budget 2021-22.

"Fifty-six airports have already been upgraded and over 700 routes awarded, of which air-service has commenced on 311 routes under the UDAN scheme since it was launched with a budget of Rs 4,500 crore," Puri said. 

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Flight services will start from Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur airport from March 1. The Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, has been given the Bilaspur-Prayagraj-Delhi route, he said.

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had in 2020 announced that the government's plans to set up 100 more airports by 2025 under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS). Under the programme, airlines would compete to win subsidies for operating flights linking small airports with the bigger ones. The RCS-UDAN scheme, launched in October 2016, is now in its fourth phase.

The government has allocated $82 million to the UDAN scheme in Budget 2021-22, aviation consultancy CAPA pointed out.