By Prarthana Mitra
Under the proposed UDAN scheme, the draft for which was unveiled Wednesday, affordable air travel will soon be available on international routes. The Centre revealed a detailed plan to enhance global connectivity by lending financial and infrastructural support to Indian airlines.
Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik, or UDAN, which strives to make aviation a feasible mode of travel for the country’s burgeoning middle class, will now design the programme to include international travel and circuits as well. According to civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu, “It is the next step after the positive domestic impact of UDAN.”
Launched in 2016 to develop the regional aviation market, UDAN can also be used to give air connectivity between Indian states and international destinations a fillip, the Centre decided recently. “The [UDAN international] scheme is to be made operational only for states, which demonstrate their commitment to implement and provide the requisite support for promoting operations under the scheme,” the latest draft read.
The objective of the UDAN (International) scheme is to enhance international air connectivity between Indian states and select international destinations through the provision of financial support to airlines. It is the next step after the positive domestic impact of UDAN. (2/n)
— Suresh Prabhu (@sureshpprabhu) August 22, 2018
State governments have been asked to suggest a list of routes they would prefer to be connected. Assam and Andhra Pradesh suggested the expansion of the UDAN scheme overseas long back, and have reportedly submitted their recommendations already.
An International Air Connectivity Fund will also be set up to provide necessary funding and subsidy support for three years. Besides, airline operators also have an intermediary role in assessing the demand on the identified routes and submitting observations and proposals on the same, according to PTI. Stakeholders inputs and comment have been sought till September 4.
The draft International Air Connectivity (IAC) scheme, according to Hindu Business Line, aims at increasing the international ticketing to 20 crores by 2027. “The scheme envisages providing monetary support, in the form of a subsidy per seat, for the unsold seats from the number of seats as bid by the airline,” Prabhu said. The Airport Authority of India will be the implementing agency of the scheme.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius
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