The Civil Aviation Minister recently stated that the country has effective international to domestic connectivity as well as domestic Tier-I to Tier-II connectivity. He further said that the Centre is currently focusing on last-mile connectivity in the country under the UDAN 4.2 scheme.

 

About UDAN Scheme

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation’s flagship program Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) was initiated in 2016 with the objective of an enhanced aviation infrastructure and air connectivity in Tier II and Tier III cities.
  • To fulfil the aspirations of the common citizen, the scheme was formulated based on the review of The National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP)-2016.
  • The scheme, which was planned to remain in force for a period of 10 years, has a self-financing mechanism with the development of Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF).
  • The RCF funds the viability gap funding (VGF) requirements of the scheme through a levy on certain domestic flights, stimulating the growth and development of the sector.
  • Under the scheme —
      • Passengers have got the benefits of air connectivity,
      • Airlines have received concessions for operating regional routes,
      • Unserved regions have received the direct and indirect benefits of air connectivity for their economic development.

 

Phases of UDAN

  • UDAN 1.0: 36 new airports commissioned. 128 flight routes for 70 airports were awarded to 5 airline companies.
  • UDAN 2.0: It added a helipad for the first time. In 2018, 73 unserved airports were announced.
  • UDAN 3.0: This included tourist routes, seaplanes to connect water aerodromes and routes under ‘UDAN’ in the North-East region.
  • UDAN 4.0: 78 new routes approved in 2020. In this phase, Kavaratti, Agatti and Minicoy islands of Lakshadweep will also be connected by new routes.
  • UDAN 4.1: Its focus is on connecting small airports, special helicopter and seaplane routes under UDAN. New routes have also been proposed under Sagarmala seaplane services.
  • UDAN 4.2: Under this, a small aircraft scheme dedicated to less than 20-seater aircraft, to ensure last-mile connectivity, has been launched.
  • According to the Ministry, 132 routes (16 are helicopter, 50 are seaplane and 66 are fixed wing routes) have been awarded under this.

 

Scheme accomplishments

  • In the last 5 years, UDAN has significantly increased the regional air-connectivity in the country, with the number of operational airports increasing from 74 in 2014 to 141 now.
  • 68 underserved/unserved destinations which include 58 Airports, 8 Heliports and 2 Water Aerodromes have been connected under UDAN scheme.
  • UDAN framework led to the formulation of —
      • Lifeline UDAN (for transportation of medical cargo during pandemic) initiated in 2020.
      • Krishi UDAN (value realisation of agriculture products especially in North-eastern Region {NER} and tribal districts).
      • International UDAN routes for NER to explore International Connectivity from / to Guwahati and Imphal.