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Friday, 25 January, 2019, 19 : 57 PM [IST]

46 tourism routes among 235 routes awarded under UDAN 3

For the first-time seaplane routes and 2 international routes awarded under UDAN
For the first time since the UDAN scheme of regional connectivity of started, routes were put for bidding and awarded based on the tourism significance. 46 tourism routes, identified and recommended by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India have been awarded under UDAN scheme of Ministry of Civil Aviation in the third UDAN bidding which concluded today. 

The Viability Gap Funding (VGF) required for these routes will be provided by Ministry of Tourism under an agreement with Ministry of Civil Aviation. As per the details, a sum of Rs 255 cr has been earmarked by Tourism Ministry to fund Tourism UDAN. 

Announcing the results of the UDAN 3 bidding, Suresh Prabhu, Union Civil Aviation Minister said that the new awards will take the UDAN seats available to 70 lacs and will provide both independence to fly as well as the freedom to fly to the people on the eve of the Republic Day. He said that the scheme will bring “significant improvement in the connectivity scenario in the country.” 

Talking about places in the North East which has been landlocked, the Minister said that the regional connectivity will both unlock the tourism potential of the region as well as boost economic activity in the hinterland. The Minister said that an additional 21 routes will be opened for bidding in the next couple of weeks and the process will be finalised by the end of February.

 Explaining the unique features of the third round of bidding, RN Choubey, Secretary, MoCA said that it was the first-time routes have been put under UDAN to connect tourism destinations. He said that it was based on the special request of the Tourism Ministry that bidding was conducted on the basis of routes than individual airports. Out of the 70-odd routes recommended by Ministry of Tourism, 46 routes had takers in the round. Another innovation was to bring many routes operated by Alliance Air in North East under competitive bidding for other players. It was also the first time seaplane and waterdromes were brought under UDAN scheme, he said. 

There was also bidding for international UDAN in this bidding.

 Choubey said that with the successful award of third round, 39 UDAN airports will be connected with 50 fully served airports in the country. Out of the 39, 16 airports are unserved and 17 underserved and 6 waterdromes. A Total of 70 bids were awarded to service 235 routes in this round of bidding. A total of 11 operators including major airlines like SpiceJet, Jet Airways, IndiGo, Trujet, etc. won proposals in the bidding. Choubey said that with this round the RCS will cover all the states in the country.

 SpiceJet was awarded the highest number of routes with 24. These include two seaplane routes and two International UDAN routes. SpiceJet won the first international UDAN routes from Guwahati to Bangkok and Dhaka. A VGF of Rs 11 cr per year will be offered by State of Assam for these routes. Choubey clarified that there will not be any cap on ticket rates on international UDAN. 

Among the UDAN airports put under bidding, Belgaum in Karnataka won the highest number of bids with 13 connectivity. 

Choubey said there are 400 airports and airstrips in the country which are in different levels of readiness and the infrastructure will be created based on the interest of airlines to operate under the UDAN.
 
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