The total count of operational routes under the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) has become 186, with another 12 becoming functional.
“12 routes under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) UDAN have recently become functional. This takes the total operational routes under UDAN to 186 (including eight Tourism RCS routes) of the total 706 sanctioned Routes,” a statement from Civil Aviation Ministry said.
Durgapur Airport to Become 40th Functional One
The new 12 routes include to and fro services between Allahabad and Kolkata; Allahabad and Raipur; Gwalior and Bengaluru; Kolkata and Gwalior; Mumbai and Belgaum; and Mumbai and Durgapur. Durgapur airport is the 40th to become functional under the scheme.
“Under the scheme, 106 RCS Airports/water aerodromes, including 76 unserved, 20 underserved and ten water aerodromes, and 31 heliports have been identified for the commencement of RCS flight connecting small cities in India,” the statement added.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation launched the UDAN scheme in October 2016, and since then, three rounds of bidding were completed. Under the project, the Ministry intends to make air travel affordable for the people and provides subsidy lowering tax rates, waiver of airport charges and other concessions to airlines for cheaper air tickets. The ticket price has been capped at Rs. 2,500 on RCS routes connecting smaller towns.
UDAN Leading to Significant Increase in Domestic Traffic
Under UDAN scheme, 706 RCS routes, including 46 Tourism RCS routes, have been awarded to 19 selected airlines. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the first RCS-UDAN flight at Shimla in April 2017.
Under UDAN, Indian aviation industry created a capacity of 1 crore seats, resulting in a significant increase in the domestic passenger traffic in India. With UDAN, not so well-connected destinations are now on India’s aviation travel map, providing unparalleled connectivity to passengers. With many Tier II and Tier III cities on the aviation radar, the economic landscapes of these markets have improved, increasing the business and employment opportunities in these regions.