On Friday, in line with Government’s ambitious regional connectivity scheme, UDAN, the centre awarded 235 routes over which seaplanes will fly on 18 air routes, reported ET. The connectivity scheme will connect 16 unserved airports and six water aerodromes. The scheme which is popularly known as UDAN aims at regionally connecting cities via air. In its third round, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu announced that as many as 69.30 lakh seats would be added on an annual basis across the 235 routes and out of these, 1 lakh seats would be through seaplanes.
SpiceJet, Jet Airways, IndiGo and Air India Subsidiary Bag Most Routes
Not only this, but the Civil Aviation Ministry also announced that SpiceJet would operate international flights under UDAN scheme from Guwahati to Dhaka and Bangkok. In the third round of the scheme, airlines including IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet Air India subsidiary Airline Allied Services Ltd or Alliance Air, and Turbo Aviation have bagged routes. Other operators which have bagged routes include Andaman Airways Pvt Ltd, Aviation Connectivity and Infrastructure Developers Pvt Ltd, Heritage Aviation, Ghodawat Enterprises Pvt Ltd, Turbo Megha Airways Pvt Ltd and Zexus Air Services Pvt Ltd. In the third round of UDAN, a total of 73 proposals from 11 operators have been accepted by the ministry. As part of this scheme, a total of 89 airports, including 16 unserved and 17 underserved airports will be connected. It is worth noting that UDAN, which stands for Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik is targeted towards making air travel affordable for the common public.
Out of all the proposals which were drafted, two proposals for operating seaplanes were from SpiceJet and one from Turbo Aviation Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said. The six water aerodromes that are being talked about include the Guwahati River Front and Umrangso Reservoir (Assam), Sabarmati River Front, Shatrunjay Dam, Nagarjuna Sagar (Telangana), and Statue of Unity (Gujarat). The seaplanes are going to operate on 18 routes, as per a ministry official.
235 Routes Allotted Under UDAN 3
As per the Civil Aviation Secretary, the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) requirements for the total seats -- 69.30 lakh -- under the latest round are estimated to be around Rs 1,167 crore. Notably, the VGF is shared by the concerned state and the ministry. The centre also clarified that out of the 235 routes on which the operators have bagged routes will include 46 tourism routes. The ministry added that there will be no exclusivity of operations and no extension of airport concessions for tourist routes.
Speaking of the current situation, flights are operating in around 155 UDAN routes and 13 lakh seats were created in the first round of UDAN and 29 lakh seats in the second round.