Govt receives 45 proposals under UDAN scheme

Govt receives 45 proposals under UDAN scheme

The government has received 45 “initial” proposals from 11 bidders to cover more than 200 routes under the ambitious scheme ‘UDAN’ to connect regional destinations.

As the deadline for submitting bids ended on Wednesday, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) got proposals covering as many as 65 airports, of which there are 52 un-served and 13 under-served airports.

“Counter-bids have now been invited against these initial proposals, the last date of submission for which is February 1. The routes or networks will be awarded to the bidders, who quote the lowest requirement of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) against such routes,” an official statement said.

Happy at the response, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that this is a significant step ahead in realising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of “connecting the un-connected and serving the un-served”. The scheme is likely to give a major boost to tourism activities and employment generation in the hinterland, and tier II and tier III cities, he added.

The “unique market-based” scheme — Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik or UDAN (Let the Common Man Fly) was launched on October 21, last year, with an aim to connect regional destinations not covered by aviation players. To attract fliers, the government also put a cap of Rs 2,500 for a ticket for a one-hour flight.

The statement said that in order to ensure that operations on the ground to start with minimum time-gap after the bidding is completed, parallel action has also been initiated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation with AAI, state governments, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.

The scheme, which would be in operation for a period of 10 years, envisages providing connectivity to un-served and under-served regions of the country through revival of existing air strips and airports.

This would be achieved through a financial stimulus in the form of central and state government concessions, as well as VGF to airlines to kick off operations from such airports, so that the passenger fares are kept affordable.

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