Mumbai: In a boost for airline travel between smaller cities, the Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, is set to announce new regional routes under the third round of the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme. Under UDAN, the government has put a cap on airline fares, while offering incentives to airlines taking less frequent routes in what is already the fastest growing aviation market in the world.
“Very soon, we will be declaring results for a very successful round in UDAN III. We will announce it formally in the next two days. The new routes will meet a lot of unmet demand and futuristic requirement of people,” the minister said.
Last year, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) cancelled close to 58 licences given to Air Odisha and Air Deccan despite having many regional connectivity routes. The cancellation was made because of reported issues in launching operations due to a lack of resources.
“We want to do something which is completely ready and fool-proof. In past, some airlines that had bid and succeeded in bagging routes did not take off [from those routes]. We do not want to see a repeat of that kind. We want to make sure that UDAN is really flying,” the minister said.
“We are connecting incredible, inaccessible parts of India. We are going ahead with more connectivity, and working with state governments. We are also coming out with a template of doing joint ventures with states for airport development.”
Five airlines were permitted to travel on 128 regional routes in the first round of UDAN in March 2017, while 15 airlines were mandated on 325 regional routes in the second phase last January.