Ministry of civil aviation launches UDAN 5.0
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has initiated the fifth round of bidding for its regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), which aims to enhance connectivity to rural and regional communities in India. Airline proposals for several routes are being accepted at this stage, with the process beginning on April 21.
About Regional Connectivity Scheme – UDAN
- The UDAN scheme was launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to improve regional airport infrastructure and connectivity.
- It is a component of the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 and is valid for a duration of ten years.
- The main objectives of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN) are-
- To improve air connectivity to remote and regional areas of India,
- Promote regional airport development, enhance trade and commerce, boost tourism,
- Provide affordable air travel to common people,
- To create employment opportunities in the aviation sector.
- As per the UDAN scheme, airlines are required to limit airfares to a maximum of Rs. 2,500 per hour of flight for half of the total seats on the flight.
Key Features of UDAN 5.0
- Airlines are allowed to use Category-2 (20-80 seats) and Category-3 (>80 seats) aircraft.
- There is no restriction on the distance between the origin and destination of the flight.
- The Viability Gap Funding (VGF) provided to airlines will be capped at 600 km stage length for both Priority and Non-Priority areas.
- There are no predetermined routes offered in UDAN 5.0; airlines can only propose network and individual routes.
- Also, the same route will not be awarded to a single airline more than once, whether in different networks or in the same network.
- To prevent a monopoly on a route, exclusivity of operation provided to an airline will be withdrawn if the average quarterly Passenger Load Factor (PLF) is higher than 75% for four continuous quarters.
- Airlines must commence operations within 4 months of the award of the route.
- The novation process for routes from one operator to another has been simplified and incentivized. (Novation is a legal term that refers to the process of replacing an existing contract with a new one, with the agreement of all parties involved).
Earlier Phases of the Scheme
- UDAN 1.0 was the first phase of the UDAN scheme launched in 2017.
- This phase aimed to connect underserved and unserved airports in the country.
- The government awarded 128 flight routes to 5 airline companies, connecting 70 airports including 36 newly made operational airports.
- The first flight under the scheme was operated on April 27, 2017, between Shimla and Delhi by Alliance Air.
- UDAN 2.0 was launched in 2018 with the aim of expanding air connectivity to more remote and inaccessible parts of the country.
- The MoCA announced 73 underserved and unserved airports under this phase.
- For the first time, helipads were also connected under this phase of the UDAN scheme.
- A total of 23 airlines were awarded 325 routes and the scheme was seen as a significant step towards making air travel accessible to people in remote and hilly areas.
- UDAN 3.0 was launched in November 2018 and included several new features.
- The scheme added tourism routes in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism and brought in a number of routes in the North-East Region under its ambit.
- Additionally, seaplanes were included to connect water aerodromes. These efforts aimed to increase air connectivity to remote and underserved areas of the country and promote tourism in the region.
- UDAN 4.0, launched in 2020, aimed to enhance connectivity to remote and regional areas of India.
- 78 new routes were approved to connect underserved and unserved airports across the country.
- The scheme also included plans to connect the Kavaratti, Agatti, and Minicoy islands of Lakshadweep.
- The objective was to improve trade and commerce, promote tourism, and create employment opportunities in the aviation sector.
- UDAN 4.1 is a new phase under the UDAN scheme, launched in December 2020.
- It aims to enhance air connectivity to smaller airports and introduce special helicopter and seaplane routes.
- This phase is also focused on the Sagarmala Seaplane Services project, which aims to connect various destinations via seaplanes, as a part of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways initiative.
- The project aims to identify potential airline operators for the development of seaplane routes, which will further enhance connectivity in the country.
- Krishi UDAN is a scheme launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in August 2020.
- Aimed at providing air transportation facilities to farmers, fishermen, and other related communities to help them transport their agricultural produce, fishery products, and other perishables in a timely and efficient manner.
- It is intended to improve the value realization of agricultural products, as timely transportation can help reduce wastage and ensure better prices for farmers. The scheme is operational on both international and national routes.
- International UDAN is an initiative launched with the aim of improving air connectivity between smaller Indian cities and key foreign destinations in neighboring countries.
- The goal is to make it easier for people from smaller cities to travel to important international destinations for business, tourism, and other purposes.
- This initiative will also help in boosting economic activity in smaller cities by facilitating the movement of goods and people.
- The government is working to identify and develop new routes under this initiative to connect more Indian cities with foreign destinations.
Key Achievements of the UDAN Scheme
- The UDAN scheme has been a game-changer for air connectivity in India, providing affordable airfares to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.
- Since its inception, the number of operational airports has almost doubled from 74 in 2014 to 141.
- The scheme has connected 68 previously underserved and unserved destinations, including 58 airports, 8 heliports, and 2 water aerodromes.
- With the initiation of 425 new routes, UDAN has provided air connectivity to over 29 states and union territories across India.
- More than one crore passengers have benefited from the scheme, transforming the way travel is done in India.
*Data till August 2022, as per MoCA.
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