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Civil aviation ministry to tweak Udan scheme, new air routes by August

LiveMint logoLiveMint 24-05-2017 Tarun Shukla

New Delhi: The aviation ministry will tweak the subsidy-backed regional Udan scheme launched earlier this year and grant new flights to airlines by August.

“A number of stakeholders/airline operators have evinced their interest in undertaking operations under the scheme... learning from the experience of first round of bidding (the ministry) is in the process of taking stock of regional connectivity scheme documents for making it more simpler and attractive so that more airline operators/states could participate,” the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. 

These  include relaxations to consider a route between two airports, both of which are neither under-served or un-served, as an Udan route from the current view of having at least one destination airport under-served or un-served. 

Another relaxation being considered is including routes covering less than 150 km in the scheme—something not allowed right now. 

The ministry also wants to reconsider the current guideline that allows exclusivity to an airline to fly a route for three years once awarded. 

The ministry is also looking at a proposal whether the number of seats allowed on subsidy per flight can be considered over the total number of seats per week.

The ministry has also indicated greater flexibility for Udan flights by helicopters, given limited interest by the airlines in round one.

Civil aviation secretary R.N. Choubey said in the first round of Udan, 72 airports, of which 27 were served, 12 under-served and 33 completely un-served have been given out.

A total of about 108 new routes have been given and over a year 13 lakh subsidized seats are likely to be flown by passengers. This will require a subsidy of Rs200 crore, Choubey said.

Most airlines are yet to start operations and only half a dozen routes are being flown under Udan at present.  

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