Narendra Modi launches UDAN flight scheme for budget air travel

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Kunwar Prithvi Singh Chauhan
Part time journalist, full-time observer. Editor-in-Chief at The Indian Wire. I cover updates related to business and startups.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday flagged off the much awaited air travel scheme for the citizens of the country. The UDAN Scheme, abbreviated for Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik, was flagged off from Shimla to Delhi and will cover 3 routes in the initial phase including Shimla – Delhi, Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad.

After launching the service, Prime Minister in a tweet said that this is the first scheme in the world to implement market-based mechanism for regional connectivity. This is a scheme to encourage the middle and lower middle class of society to take up air travel without worrying too much about the price. Under this scheme, flights for the distance of less than 500 kilometres having a duration of less than an hour or a helicopter journey of less than 30 minutes, can not cost more than ₹2500.

This comes as a fulfilment of one of the biggest announcement under National Civil Aviation Scheme launched on June 15th, 2016. Giving it a green signal, Airport Authority of India has approved the use of 70 airports across the country which includes 27 served airports, 12 underserved airports and 31 completely unserved airports. Out of the 70 airports, 24 are in the western region, 17 in northern region, 12 in eastern region, 11 in the southern region and remaining 6 are in the north-eastern region.

A total of 27 proposals were approved which cover 22 states and 2 union territories. The government has partnered with Airline Allied Services (Alliance Air), Turbo Megha Airways, Air Deccan, SpiceJet and Air Odisha for the scheme. These companies will fly smaller aircrafts of capacity ranging from 19 to 78. Out of the total capacity, 50% seats will be reserved under the UDAN scheme.

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