Mysuru, Bidar on 'common man' aviation map

5 airlines selected to operate 128 routes under Udan

Mysuru, Bidar on 'common man' aviation map
Five airlines have been selected to operate 128 routes, including those touching Mysuru, Bidar and Vidyanagar in Karnataka, under the Udan scheme in which the airfare is capped at Rs 2,500 for a one-hour flight.

Seventy airports, many of them underserved, are now being connected under the scheme. The first flight under Udan (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) or regional connectivity scheme (RCS) is likely to hit the skies in April. Selected airlines will get subsidy to fly the ‘common man’.

The government estimates that about Rs 205 crore would be spent per year as viability gap funding (VGF) for operators chosen in the first round of bidding. The airlines which won the bidding in the first round are Air India subsidiary Alliance Air, SpiceJet, TruJet, Air Deccan and Air Odisha.

Passengers are likely to fly from Mysuru to Chennai by September on Trujet or Air Odisha flights while the schedule for flights from Bidar to Bengaluru by TruJet is yet to be approved.
From Vidyanagar airport in Bellary region, TruJet is likely to start operations in July. A Vidyanagar-Hyderabad flight by Trujet is expected to start by June.

Fliers from Salem (Tamil Nadu) and Kadapa (Andhra Pradesh) can also fly to Bengaluru on Udan flights. The Salem-Bengaluru flight will be operated by Air Odisha and Kadapa-Bengaluru by Air Odisha/TruJet.

Fare cap
According to the scheme, up to 40 seats in such flights would have a fare cap of Rs 2,500 per seat/hour. “In the next four-six months, everything will be active,” Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said.

Minister of State Jayant Sinha said the winning bidders were selected based on the level of viability gap funding each of them sought per seat.

Fliers on major routes would pay about Rs 50 extra per ticket to help generate the VGF amount of Rs 205 crore for the Udan flights, according to Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey. SpiceJet chairman and managing director Ajay Singh said his airline would not avail of the VGF. Air Odisha got the maximum number of 50 routes followed by Air Deccan (34) and TruJet (18 each). Alliance Air would operate on 15 routes while SpiceJet won bids for 11 routes. These airlines will operate 19- to78-seater aircraft and the deadline for operationalising the routes is September.

“In a century of civil aviation, only 76 airports were connected with scheduled commercial flights. Now in one year since National Civil Aviation Policy was announced, 31 unserved airports are being added,” Choubey said.

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