According to a report by The Business Line, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is preparing to launch UDAN 5.0, with a focus on heliports, sea aerodromes and regional airports, in the next few weeks. The new round will also recalibrate old, non-operational routes and also introduce new routes. Additionally, the rules of UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) are set to be revamped to define the role of exclusivity in certain routes, after concerns were raised by industry players. More routes Planned According to one of the two ministry officials contacted by businessline, UDAN 5.0 is expected to be launched within the next few weeks. “The process will commence by May,” the person said, adding that, “with the government’s focus on mobilising heliports and sea aerodromes, this round of UDAN will have multiple routes. The move is aimed at promoting tourism and providing faster and more efficient connectivity to remote areas.”
As per a recent Lok Sabha response, Airports Authority of India (AAI), the implementing agency, has awarded 1,152 valid UDAN routes so far. Out of these awarded routes, 469 routes connecting 74 airports including 9 heliports and two water aerodromes have been operationalised, it said.
Another government official said that in this round, “The motive is to rejig the UDAN model. For multiple reasons, there have been routes which have remained non-operational. This round will recalibrate old, non-operational routes. In the previous rounds, airline operators such as IndiGo, SpiceJet, Alliance Air, Air Deccan, and Star Air have continued to participate and have been awarded more routes. Akasa Air had said it plans to expand in tier 2 and 3 markets, and will evaluate suitable UDAN routes. In the upcoming round, the UDAN routes are set to see major changes.
“The Ministry is set to revise the rules related to exclusivity and make them more flexible. The move is aimed at addressing the concerns raised by the industry players and promoting competition on regional routes. The revised rules will define the role of exclusivity on certain routes and allow other airline operators to operate on those routes once the exclusivity period is over,” the person added.