New Delhi: A total of 78 additional routes will be awarded under the fourth round of regional connectivity scheme Udan, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday. Under the Udan scheme, financial incentives from the Centre, state governments and airport operators are extended to selected airlines to encourage operations from unserved and underserved airports, and keep airfares affordable.
Mr Puri said on Twitter, “UDAN 4.0 is ready to go. Seventy-eight additional routes have now been approved, taking the total number of sanctioned routes to 766.” “Eighteen unserved/underserved airports would be connected to metro cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Kochi, etc,” he added.
The Modi government had launched the Udan scheme in 2016 to improve regional connectivity.
At least half of the seats in Udan flights are offered at subsidised fares, and the participating carriers are provided a certain amount of viability gap funding (VGF) – an amount shared between the Centre and the state concerned. The minister said the aforementioned 78 “unique” routes have been “finalised for award” and it will cause “approximately monthly VGF outflow of ₹ 15 crores”.
Mr Puri said, “The economic and tourism opportunities that these flights will offer to the regions will contribute towards the making of an Atmanirbhar Bharat.” The minister also said Bilaspur-Bhopal route has been awarded to Alliance Air and flight services on this route will commence shortly.