THE CONTEXT: 8 new routes were launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation for boosting regional connectivity under the UDAN scheme.
- The airlines, Spice Jet, will commence operations on these eight new routes: Gwalior-Mumbai-Gwalior, Gwalior-Pune-Gwalior, Jabalpur-Surat-Jabalpur, and Ahmedabad-Gwalior-Ahmedabad.
- Inauguration of these routes achieves the aim of the “Sab Uden Sab Juden” initiatives under the UDAN scheme to strengthen the established aerial network of the country while providing a catalyst to the local economy and tourism.
- The commencement of these routes fulfils the objectives of the Ministry to enhance regional connectivity of Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities with the metro cities of the country.
- For instance, the new routes will boost the aerial connectivity of Gwalior, the tourism city of Madhya Pradesh with the trade hubs of India, and further improve economic activity.
- Earlier this month, under the UDAN scheme, M/S Indigo airlines started another flight to connect Kolkata, West Bengal,Imphal, and Manipur with Dibrugarh, Assam.
- To date, 359 routes and 59 airports including 5 heliports and 2 Water Aerodromes have been operationalized under the UDAN scheme.
ABOUT UDAN SCHEME
- The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)- Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) 2016 is a flagship scheme of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) envisaged to make air travel affordable and widespread in the country.
- The scheme intends to boost inclusive national economic growth, employment opportunities, and air transport infrastructure development across the nation.
- The scheme will be jointly funded by the central government and state governments.
- The scheme will run for 10 years and can be extended thereafter.
- The scheme entails making the routes financially viable, without insisting on the financial viability of the regional airports, by lowering the cost of flight operations and through financial support in the form of Viability Gap Funding (VGF).
- The 4th round of UDAN was launched in December 2019 with a special focus on North-Eastern Regions, Hilly States, and Islands.
- Under UDAN 4, the operation of helicopter and seaplanes is also been incorporated