UDAN takes off

Prime Minister Modi launched the affordable regional flying or ude desh ka aam naagrik scheme. Fares on these flights will be capped at Rs.2,500 per hour of flying for half the number of seats on planes operating these subsidised regional flights.

While flagging off the first Udan flight from Shimla to Delhi, Modi said he wants people wearing hawai chappal to do hawai yatra.“Earlier aviation was considered to be the domain of a select few. That has changed now. The lives of the middle class are being transformed and their aspirations are increasing. Given the right chance, they can do wonders,“ he said.

The affordable regional connectivity scheme will see 128 unconnected-by-air city pairs getting by September. Five companies, including two big airlines SpiceJet and Air India's subsidiary Alliance Air, will operate on these 128 routes bringing 31 unserved airports on the flight map.

Half the seats on the 19 to 78 seater small planes (turbo props) operating on these routes will have a fare cap of Rs.2,500 per hour. Operators will get viability gap funding from a fee levy on flights operated out of big cities, which will mean an increase in fares of about Rs.50-100 for passengers on those routes. Bidding for second round of RCS will begin in next two months.

The real benefits of this scheme will reach the masses in coming months when more RCS flights are launched. 

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