Pawan Hans Limited (PHL) unveiled a new helicopter service on the Dehradun-New Tehri-Srinagar-Gauchar route in Uttarakhand under the Centre's connectivity scheme, UDAN. Flagging off the event with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh underlined the government's efforts in improving connectivity between the regional areas of the country and said that the helicopter flight services will also bring people of the state closer while also supporting tourism in the region as well.
As far as the new services are concerned, Pawan Hans will commence thrice-weekly helicopter flight services and a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) will be provided to both the operators and passengers to ensure that the fares are subsidised for all and sundry. Furthermore, the commencement of the air services will also enhance the aerial connectivity between the hilly regions in Uttarakhand and will bring down the average travel time to less than 30 minutes. The services will assist the Chaar Dhaam Yatra pilgrims. Passengers availing the service will have to pay Rs 2900 per seat. Additionally, two more networks connecting to Dehradun to Ramnagar, Pantnagar, Nainital, Almora, Pithoragarh, and Dehradun to Mussorie will soon be unveiled as well. Notably, the Ministry of Civil Aviation awarded the new flight routes to Pawan Hans Limited under the UDAN 2 bidding process.
According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, UDAN flights have connected 50 lakh passengers who have travelled to 19 States and 2 Union Territories so far, following three successful rounds, while the fourth round is under process. Furthermore, the government has also operationalised 274 UDAN routes that have connected 45 airports and 3 heliports since its inception three years ago, Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri noted. To recall, the first UDAN flight was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Shimla to New Delhi in April 2017.