Tourist routes in focus for UDAN 3

The results of Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA’s) Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme’s Round 3 witnessed a major inclusion of tourism routes in coordination with MOT.

Nisha Verma

Under UDAN 3, MoCA awarded 235 routes to different airlines, out of which 46 are tourism routes, and 189 are under Regional Connectivity Scheme. Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Civil Aviation, said, “We are working closely with Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Commerce as we have sanctioned a programme of 12 champion sectors of service development under which `5000 crores were allowed as sanctions. Part of that money is being given to MOT which in turn is giving that money to aviation ministry for these routes.”

Rajeev Nayan Choubey, Former Secretary, Civil Aviation, shared that for the first time, MOT came on board for the UDAN scheme. “MOT asked us to conduct tourism route-wise bidding, for which they will be providing funds. The difference between MOT route and the conventional RCS UDAN route is that MOT wants tourist places to be connected among themselves. It may happen that the airport, which they are wanting may have enough flights but there may not be a flight between two tourist destinations. Hence, the MOT’s intention was that we should conduct the bidding, not for individual airports, but for routes which are specified by them. MOT has in turn got the list of routes collated by interacting with tourism professionals, both in the private sector as well as the government sector, including state governments and other stakeholders before giving it to us,” he said.

UDAN 3 promises enhanced links

As proposed by MOT, two different types of routes were made available to the airlines—Un-served routes connecting un-served/under-served airports (RCS routes) and Under-served routes connecting served airports, which would be called tourism routes. However, there will be no exclusivity of operations for the airline as well as no airport concessions.

Choubey claimed that there are four new features in UDAN 3. “The first one is the inclusion of tourism routes in coordination with MOT. The second innovation is the inclusion of North East Region (NER) routes. These are certain routes in the North East region where Alliance Air had been flying that were given to them on nomination basis. Under UDAN 3, we have decided that these routes should also be brought within the ambit of the bidding parameter so that any airline wishing to take those routes at the lowest possible cost should be able to do so. Thirdly, we are launching seaplane operations for connecting water aerodromes. The fourth innovation is UDAN International in which international flights will be launched from Guwahati to Bangkok and Guwahati to Dhaka.”

Under UDAN 3, 16 unserved airports, 17 underserved airports and six water aerodromes will be connected, apart from 50 served airports. Elaborating about the water aerodromes, Prabhu revealed that the destinations connected by seaplanes will include Guwahati River Front, Nagarjuna Sagar, Sabarmati River Front, Shatrunjay Dam, Statue of Unity and Umrangso Reservoir. “We are happy that under UDAN 3, a staggering 69 lakh new seats will be added. We are now set to move into the next round that will be UDAN 3.5,” he revealed.

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