UDAN flights from Hindon airport, Ghaziabad, will connect to Hubli, Jamnagar, Shimla, Kalburgi, Kannur, Nashik, Faizabad, Pithoragarh
The finer details of starting these airline operations under the UDAN regional connectivity scheme are being worked out
New Delhi: Come 15 May, people will be able to fly from Delhi NCR to eight small towns, with four airlines scheduled to start operations under the government’s subsidized regional connectivity scheme.
IndiGo, Heritage Aviation, Ghodawat Airlines and Turbo Aviation will launch flights connecting Hindon airport near Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh to Jamnagar, Shimla, Kalburgi, Kannur, Nashik, Hubli, Faizabad and Pithoragarh.
The finer details of starting these airline operations under the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme are being worked out, a government official said.
A "civil enclave" has been built for the purpose of these flights at Hindon airport, which is an air force station jointly owned by the Indian Air Force and the Airports Authority of India.
Under the UDAN regional connectivity scheme, state and central governments waive taxes on fuel and certain airport charges besides offering financial support to airlines for ensuring viability of services.
Airlines have responded to the UDAN regional connectivity scheme enthusiastically and in the third and largest auction of UDAN routes yet in January, 11 airlines including IndiGo, Jet Airways and SpiceJet won bids for 235 services. They cover 39 airports, including six water aerodromes.
The government has been trying to add infrastructure to keep up with the rapid growth of the air travel market. It expects the scale of air travel to reach one billion passengers a year in 15-20 years, nearly four times the 265 million recorded in 2016-17.
Intense competition for market share and an aggressive capacity expansion by airlines have in recent years made air travel more affordable and accessible. According to a 2018 report by the International Air Transport Association (Iata), India is set to become the third largest aviation market by 2024. Policymakers are promoting civil aviation industry as it is believed to act as a force multiplier in the economy.