Govt brings UDAN, less than 1-hour flights capped at 2500 Rs
NEW DELHI: PM Modi wants to connect smaller towns by air. It plans to introduce budget regional flying by connecting small towns by flights whose fares will be capped at Rs 2,500 for less than one-hour flight. This will help cities in Punjab to get directly connected to metros in India.
Termed “Ude Desh ka Aam nagrik” or UDAN, this regional connectivity scheme (RCS) will be funded by levying a fee on aircraft landing at bigger airports. Aviation secretary RN Choubey on Friday said the levy, “which will be a very nominal one” will be announced by the month-end. It is estimated that if airlines pass on this levy to flyers, the increase in cost per ticket is unlikely to be more than Rs 60.
Existing airlines are opposing the move to introduce one more levy on flyers in the form of RCS fee and they feel the government should have found some other way of funding this scheme instead of taxing passengers more.
However, aviation minister Jayant Sinha tried to allay their fears. “We have taken three crucial steps to strike a balance between affordability for the common man and profitability for regional operators. Firstly, successful bidders will now have exclusive rights to operate on a regional route for three years, up from the previous plan of one year. Secondly, a UDAN flight operating from a small city to a metro like Delhi or Kolkata will have to pay no airport charges at the bigger airport. And finally, we have made it possible for entrepreneurs to lease planes in small numbers also to become regional operators. Earlier it was not possible to do so,” Sinha said