Focus: Government policies and Interventions
Why in News?
Recently, the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has launched the UDAN 5.0 to further enhance the connectivity to remote and regional areas of the country.
UDAN 5.0 Scheme
The UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme was launched in 2016 to make air travel affordable and accessible to the common citizen of India. The 5th round of the scheme has introduced several changes, including:
- Focus on Category-2 and Category-3: The current round of the scheme is targeted towards Category-2 (20-80 seats) and Category-3 (>80 seats) aircraft.
- No restriction on stage length: The earlier cap of 600 km on stage length has been waived off, allowing airlines to operate flights on any distance between the origin and destination.
- Increased Viability Gap Funding (VGF) cap: The VGF to be provided will be capped at 600 km stage length for both Priority and Non-Priority areas, which was earlier capped at 500 km.
- Shorter deadline for commencement of operations: Airlines would be required to commence operations within 4 months of the award of the route. Earlier this deadline was 6 months.
About Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN):
Nodal: Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA)
- It is a regional airport development and “Regional Connectivity Scheme” (RCS) of the Union Government of India.
- The scheme envisages providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through the revival of existing airstrips and airports.
- To create affordable yet economically viable and profitable flights on regional routes so that flying becomes affordable to the common man even in small towns.
- To stimulate regional air connectivity and making air travel affordable to the masses.
- The scheme envisages providing connectivity to un-served and underserved airports of the country through the revival of existing air-strips and airports. The scheme is operational for a period of 10 years.
- UDAN is a market driven ongoing scheme where bidding rounds are conducted periodically for covering more destinations/stations and routes under the scheme.
- Interested airlines assess the demand on particular routes connecting these airports and submit their proposals at the time of bidding.
- Under this phase, 5 airlines companies were awarded 128 flight routes to 70 airports (including 36 newly made operational airports)
- In 2018, the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced 73 underserved and unserved airports.
- For the first time, helipads were also connected under phase 2 of UDAN scheme.
Key Features of UDAN 3 included:
- Inclusion of Tourism Routes under UDAN 3 in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism.
- Inclusion of Seaplanes for connecting Water Aerodromes.
- Bringing in a number of routes in the North-East Region under the ambit of UDAN.
- The 4th round of UDAN was launched in December 2019 with a special focus on North-Eastern Regions, Hilly States, and Islands.
- The airports that had already been developed by Airports Authority of India (AAI) are given higher priority for the award of VGF (Viability Gap Funding) under the Scheme.
- Under UDAN 4, the operation of helicopter and seaplanes is also been incorporated.