The Ministry of Civil Aviation announced UDAN “ude desh ka aam nagrik” a Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) through National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 (NCAP). The initiative was taken to make aviation facilities more accessible, give better flying experience to passengers and improve connectivity in rural and remote areas by developing air transport infrastructure. In the first phase of the regional connectivity program, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) planned to connect 22 airports. RCS intends to connects these underdeveloped airports through flights that would cost up to Rs. 2,500. AAI planned to invest Rs. 17,500 crores till 2019-20.
Regional Connectivity Scheme Latest Updates
- The Ministry of Civil Aviation has set a goal of operating hundred unserved and underserved airports and launching at least 100 new air routes by the end of the year.
- On the fourth anniversary of the UDAN scheme, the ministry of Civil Aviation observed aviation day. Government of India has recognized the contributions of the scheme by designating October 21st as UDAN day, the day on which scheme documents were initially released.
- Under the fourth round of UDAN scheme the Civil Aviation Ministry has approved seventy-eight new routes and 766 new routes have been approved so far under the scheme.
- The scheme has made modest progress in implementation with only half of the routes being operationalized due to second wave of pandemic which began in mid-march 2021.
- Also the second wave of pandemic will have a greater impact on UDAN system in future, with aviation being one of the worst affected sectors.
Udaan Scheme Objectives
- To develop 425 underserved airports of the country.
- To enhance the overall economy of the country through better connectivity.
- To raise jobs through aviation industry.
- To increase connectivity in order to stimulate growth through a multiplier effect.
Regional Connectivity Scheme Features
- Making Aviation accessible to common folks.
- Facilities as subsidized price
- Regional Connectivity
- Increasing Job Opportunity through connectivity
- No Terminal Navigation Landing Charges
- Discount on other charges like route navigation, parking and many more.
- Reduction in GST for 10 years
Phases of Udaan Scheme
The aim of AAI (Airport authority of India) was to run hundreds of routes from at least 100 regional airports by the end of year 2018-19. The scheme underwent many changes of upgradation through various phases, let’s have a brief look over phase wise development in UDAN.
Owners like Central government, State government, Private and Commercial Parties Collaborated with AAI
The scheme was Launched on April 27, 2017 by Prime minister Narendra Modi starting first regional flight system from Himachal Pradesh (Shimla) to Delhi. Under the first phase 5 Airlines were added given below and 128 flight roots were sanctioned to them along with 70 airports.
- Air Odisha
- Air Deccan
- Turbo Mega Airways
- Alliance Air
- Spice Jet
- 325 Routes were announced in the Second Phase in 2018
- In 2018 Council imposed 5% GST, which had previously been exempted on purchase of aircraft and aircraft parts.
- Airlines like Indigo and SpiceJet joined the scheme wherein Spicejet won 17 routes under RCS and Indigo ordered 50-70 seater aircrafts to be able to serve smaller airports.
- 73 networks and 235 routes were identified
- Routes connecting hilly areas like J&K, Himachal and Uttarakhand were found.
- Tourism routes were included at phase 3 in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism.
- The third stage was intended to include direct lines financed by the Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Parts of India as well as thirty tourist attractions.
- Addition of 78 flight routes and a total of 766 sanctioned routes
- Connectivity of routes from Guwahati to Tezu, Rupsi Shillong etc.
- Lakshadweep Island had also been connected v.i.a. new routes
- Allowed operation of Helicopter and sea planes
- Planned to follow short haul routes, because no monetary support will be given to airlines operating more than 600 km.
How To Apply For Udan Scheme?
UDAN has collaborated with many private airlines thus for booking your ticket there are these steps:-,
Step 1: Firstly, you can visit the company’s official website (for example – www.goindigo.com)
Step 2: From the Menu Option Search for UDAN Scheme Bookings the website will assist you to fare costs of scheme. Through the second way you can browse any online travel agency (for example – Goibibo or Makemytrip), and avail offers and tickets for just Rs. 2500.
What Are The Concessions For Operators?
- The central government offers 2% excise on Value Added Tax and one tenth rate of service tax as well as moderate code sharing for regional connectivity scheme airports.
- The scheme will run for ten years and would be further extended as per requirements and working
- No landing or parking charges
- Viability Gap funding (VGF) to cover the cost of flight
International UDAN Scheme
International UDAN is a follow – up to the domestic UDAN. The goal of international UDAN is to connect India’s smaller cities directly to some of the neighbouring most important foreign destinations.
- The government hoped that providing direct air connectivity would encourage tourists to travel through smaller towns rather than metros, promoting city and state development.
- Airlines must bid on the number of passenger seats per trip that require assistance.
- The government provides subsidies in the form of a predetermined compensation per seat to encourage participation.
Challenges Faced During Implementation
- Some states during implementation were hesitant to give up tax breaks on air turbine fuel and other financial incentives which could entice other airlines to operate in underdeveloped areas of state.
- Land scarcity for setting up airport in small regions and requirement of huge capital are two main problems faced in implementation of UDAN.
- Airlines fear to invest in such a scheme as passenger flow would be minimal from the rural or less developed areas as compared to the investment required to make by any airlines.