Under the ambitious regional connectivity Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme or RCS-UDAN, India has to date operationalized 325 air routes. With the scheme launched in 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had dreamt of providing convenient and affordable connectivity in tier two and tier three cities of the country. As per the current scenario, Mumbai-Patna flight fare is now equal to train fare, this is all thanks to the UDAN scheme by Prime Minister Modi.
मेरा सपना है कि हवाई चप्पल पहनने वाले लोग भी करें हवाई जहाज की सैर: पीएम मोदी pic.twitter.com/Mtab9lqulW
— narendramodi_in (@narendramodi_in) April 28, 2017
PM Modi’s UDAN scheme
- The much talked about Udega Desh Ka Aam Nagrik(UDAN) scheme is part of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released on June 15, 2016.
- It aims to provide air connectivity to the 100 under-served and unserved airports of the country.
- Under the scheme, the average airfare for a one-hour journey of approximately 500 kilometres of the flight was capped at Rs.2500.
- The UDAN scheme was first launched on October 21, 2016, by Civil Aviation Minister Shri P Ashok Gajapathi Raju with an aim to develop the regional aviation market in the country.
- The UDAN scheme would be in operation for 10 years.
- As of May 31, 47 per cent of total routes and 39 per cent of airports (unserved and underserved) have been operationalized under UDAN, according to ICRA.
Convenient aerial travel
The aviation industry has effectively managed to create a capacity of 1 crore seats that have eventually resulted in a significant surge in domestic passenger traffic in India. The connectivity has become convenient than ever before through 137 operational airports in India, of which 72 were added post-2014. However, the Government is aiming at operationalizing 100 underserved airports by 2026-27. With such a development, the aerial network will increase to another extent and will help people to save time and money and sometimes both.
Earlier this year, a new route between Delhi and Bareilly under the UDAN-4 bidding process was commenced by Alliance Air. In addition to that, the Bareilly airport was also upgraded for commercial flight operations. With the 56th airport upgraded, the eight airports of Uttar Pradesh were successfully operationalized after Lucknow, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Hindon, Agra and Prayagraj.
Deep Kalra, Founder and Group CEO, MakeMyTrip had said, “UDAN has successfully created a new benchmark for regional air connectivity in the global aviation industry, with the kind of impact it is creating for consumers, airline operators and industry at large. With the planned phased rollout and a more robust execution roadmap for the scheme, we are set to see more and more Indians take the aerial route to travel and save time. Well begun is half done.”
Surge in number of passengers
Earlier reported by TFI, Indian airlines carried more than 12 crore passengers in the fiscal year 2017-18 against 6.1 crore passengers in the fiscal year of 2013-14. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the number of passengers is a whopping 19 percent. Growth in international and domestic air traffic over India for the month of April 2018 was 5.8% and 21.1% respectively.
The surge in passengers is all thanks to affordable airfare. Earlier, as reported by TFI, the airfares were dropped by 18 percent in 2017 over average airfare in 2015, making air travel more affordable for everyone in the country. However, the development came against rising fuel prices over the last two years.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a statement, “to keep the fares accessible financial incentive in the form of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) is being provided under the scheme from the centre.”
In a move to applaud Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the scheme, Sushil Kedia, founder of kedianomics tweeted, “I must tell you this one @narendramodi Ji, My domestic help this time flew back to Mumbai from his village in Madhubani in Bihar. His logic, “saab 2 din time train me barbaard hota, flight ki ticket ka daam train ticket + 2 din ke salary jitna hi hai.” Vikas poore samaj ka!”
I must tell you this one @narendramodi Ji,
My Domestic Help this time flew back to Mumbai from his village in Madhubani in Bihar.
His logic, "saab 2 din time train me barbaad hota, flight ki ticket ka daam train ticket + 2 din ke salary jitna hi hai."
Vikas poore samaj ka!🙏
— Sushil Kedia (@sushilkedia) September 9, 2021
Air travel, which was considered a luxury in the country since independence, was limited to metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Bangalore. As of now, with the launch of the UDAN scheme, the exponential increase in domestic passenger traffic coming from non-metropolitan cities can be witnessed. It has only been 5 years since the launch of the scheme, the industry is still scratching the surface and the best is yet to come.