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UDAN Scheme Takes Flight as Modi Flags Off Low-cost Ride From Shimla

The PM also launched flights on Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors under the scheme.

Updated:April 27, 2017, 12:52 PM IST

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday flagged off a Shimla-Delhi flight, the first under the UDAN Scheme.

UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) is a regional air connectivity programme under which the fares will be capped at Rs 2,500 per seat per hour.

“I am happy that the common man can avail air transport facilities through the UDAN Scheme. This is part of our vision for new India,” said Modi.

“I want to see people who wear hawai chappals (slippers) in hawai jahaz (aircraft),” he said.

The PM also launched flights on Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors under the scheme.

The UDAN Scheme is a key component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released on June 15, 2016.

"Airfare for a 1-hour journey of approx. 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30-minute journey on a helicopter would be capped at Rs. 2,500," the PMO said. "This with proportionate pricing for routes of different stage lengths and flight duration," it said.

According to an official statement, 24 airports in the western region, 17 in the northern region, 11 in the southern region, 12 in east and six in north-eastern parts of the country are proposed to be connected under this scheme. Under this programme, the government intends to connect 45 unserved and under-served airports.

Five airlines were awarded 128 routes under the scheme last month after a bidding process.

The selected airline operator would have to provide 50% of the flight capacity with a cap of Rs 2,500 per hour on fixed wing aircraft and a minimum of five and a maximum of 13 on helicopters with the same price cap. Under 'UDAN', the operators would be extended viability gap funding.

The amount is estimated to be around Rs 205 crore per annum for the operators chosen in the first round of bidding.

State governments will provide a certain share of VGF. Nineteen states and three Union Territories have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for this purpose.

While in Shimla, the Prime Minister also address a rally at the historic Ridge Maidan. This will be his first visit to Shimla after becoming the Prime Minister. He had visited the capital of Himachal Pradesh last in 2003 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

(With PTI inputs)​

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