New Delhi [India], August 17 (ANI): More than one crore passengers have flown in the last five years while benefitting from the Ministry of Civil Aviation's flagship programme Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), as per an official statement released on Wednesday.
The scheme was initiated on October 21, 2016 with the objective to fulfil the aspirations of the common citizen by following the vision of 'Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik', with an enhanced aviation infrastructure and air connectivity in tier II and tier III cities. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the first flight under the scheme on April 27, 2017.
In the last five years, UDAN has significantly increased the regional air connectivity in the country. There were 74 operational airports in 2014. Because of the UDAN scheme, this number has increased to 141 by now. 68 underserved/unserved destinations which include 58 Airports, 8 Heliports and 2 Water Aerodromes have been connected under UDAN scheme, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a statement.
With 425 new routes initiated under the scheme, UDAN has provided air connectivity to more than 29 States/ UTs across the length and breadth of the country. More than one crore passengers have availed the benefits of this scheme as on August 4, 2022. The scheme has also provided a much-needed platform to the regional carriers to scale up their operations, it said.
220 destinations (airports/heliports/water aerodromes) under UDAN are targeted to be completed by 2026 with 1,000 routes to provide air connectivity to unconnected destinations in the country. Under UDAN, 954 routes have already been awarded to connect 156 airports.
On the occasion, Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia said, "The success of RCS-UDAN is a demonstration of the government's commitment to Prime Minister's vision of 'Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik'. It has played a great role in the transformation of the Indian aviation industry."
"So far under this scheme, we have 425 routes aiming to go up to 1,000 routes, 68 new airports aiming to touch 100 airports. In the next 4 years, we are expecting 40 crore travellers through Civil Aviation in India. That day is not far when along with rail transport and road transport Civil Aviation will become the bulwark of transportation in India," the minister said.
RCS-UDAN was formulated based on the review of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP)-2016 and it was planned to remain in force for a period of 10 years. It has a self-financing mechanism with the development of Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF). Under this scheme, RCF was created which funds the Viability Gap Funding requirements of the scheme through a levy on certain domestic flights. This way, funds generated from the sector themselves stimulate the growth and development of the sector.
UDAN scheme has benefitted a diverse set of stakeholders. Passengers have got the benefits of air connectivity, airlines have received concessions for operating regional routes, and unserved regions have received the direct and indirect benefits of air connectivity for their economic development. (ANI)