PM flags off first flight under UDAN which allows people to fly at ₹2,500

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 27, 2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses BJP's Parivartan Rally at Ridge in Shimla on Thursday.   -  PTI

Centre, State to provide viability gap funding for airlines operating under the scheme

The Government’s ambitious scheme to see the common man fly took wings on Friday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the Shimla-Delhi flight operated by state-owned Alliance Air.

The air service under the UDAN scheme aims to to make air travel accessible to lower middle class families and enhance connectivity with more airports in the country.

The Prime Minister also launched the Hyderabad-Nanded and Hyderabad-Kadapa flight of Trujet, which is also being operated under the scheme.

The Trujet flights were launched through video conferencing by the Prime Minister who was present at Shimla airport to launch Alliance Air’s UDAN flight.

The UDAN or Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik scheme seeks to give people from tier-II and tier-III cities a chance to fly at a ticket price of ₹2,500. Airlines operating under the UDAN scheme have to ensure that the prices of at least 50 per cent of the seats on their flights are available at a price of ₹2,500 each for an hour of flying. The Centre and State will provide viability gap funding for the airlines operating on the UDAN routes to ensure profitability of these flights.

Load factor

“The maximum load factor from Shimla to Delhi will be 15, while from Delhi it will be 35. The fare for 24 seats will be ₹2,036. The VGF per seat will be around ₹3,340. This will be followed for the next three years,” a statement said.

The Centre has nominated five operators — Alliance Air, Air Deccan, Odisha Air, SpiceJet and Trujet — to operate UDAN flights.

The launch of the scheme was welcomed by industry. Commenting on the launch, Manish B Agarwal, Leader Capital Project and Infrastructure, PwC, pointed out that in India air penetration lags its peers at similar income levels, and is at the cusp of rapid growth.

“UDAN will catalyse this by encouraging capacity addition and by bringing the economic benefits of air connectivity to a level after which it becomes self-sustainable. It has the potential to significantly expand the number of urban centres driving economic growth,” he said.

Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC Travel, felt that UDAN is a good initiative that welcomes first-time flyers and a one-of-a-kind scheme that aims to fuel regional connectivity with low-cost flights.

Expand travel network

“With people looking to explore lesser known destinations within the country, this scheme further helps to expand the travel network,” he said.

Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head Leisure Travel and M.I.C.E, Thomas Cook (India), feels that with the potential of weekends and public holidays, the UDAN scheme offers great scope, enabling customers to make the most of extended weekend getaways given 14 long-weekends this year.

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Published on April 27, 2017
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