Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha announced that 43 new airports across the country would start flight services from the next week for 190 routes like a Phase wise. Airports Authority of India (AAI) has received 43 initial proposals from 11 bidders for 190 routes under the regional air connectivity scheme called UDAN.
Under UDAN (UdeDesh Ke Aam Naagrik) plan, the ticket fares of airplanes will be offered at an affordable price of Rs 2500 for a one-hour flight. To boost the air connectivity in the country and to make the journey more quickly, Government has taken necessary steps.
Speaking to the media, Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha said, “The Game Changer and Step Change UDAN scheme would boost the national and local aviation in the country. The UDAN scheme is quite efficient, and it would give better results. We hope the plan will increase the total number of current running airports in India to 118 from the present 75. The government intends to start the first flight under UDAN will be in February month as various airports like in Jaisalmer and Cooch Behar.”
“Already 11 bidders have come forward to connect 30 airports which are currently functional, 12 which are underserved and 43 are new. The bids for the routes would be finalized by February 3,” he added.
Sinha said, “The First RCS flight will take off in February only because there are 12 underserved airports as well. Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jalgaon, Cooch Behar and Pant Nagar are ready to start services, but they didn’t have operators to start flight services. So, if any operator is there, all these airports will start flight services soon.”
Moreover, Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha declined to give the details of the bidders. He said, the counter bids are coming at this stage, and once the counter bids come, the buyers may change as well as routes may also change.
He said, just this is the first phase, and the ministry is looking to expand the aviation network in future. As per latest reports from Aviation Ministry, Maharashtra has the highest number of non-functional airports at 19, followed by the UP and Gujarat at 11 each. Similarly, in West Bengal and Karnataka have also seven non-functional airports which don not have single airplane services.
Sinha said AAI and Ministry of Aviation had already signed MoUs with 15 State Governments for the execution of Regional Connectivity Scheme.