Newly appointed Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Sunday announced new flights under the UDAN scheme to connect small cities with the metros, including Gwalior considered to be his political bastion in Madhya Pradesh.
Flights under UDAN utilises less used airports in the country and seeks to offer affordable flights to the people of the country.
The Centre plans to operationalising 100 unserved and underserved airports and starting at least 1,000 air routes under regional connectivity scheme, UDAN.
“Good news for Madhya Pradesh! Starting 8 new flights from July 16 onwards via @flyspicejet: Gwalior-Mumbai-Gwalior, Gwalior-Pune-Gwalior, Jabalpur-Surat-Jabalpur, Ahmedabad-Gwalior-Ahmedaba. @MoCA_GoI & the aviation industry are committed to take #UDAN to greater heights!” Minister Scindia said in his tweet.
The Centre plans to operationalising 100 unserved and underserved airports and starting at least 1,000 air routes under regional connectivity scheme called UDAN scheme (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik).
The scheme is aimed at enhancing connectivity to remote and regional areas of the country and making air travel affordable. It is a key component of Centre’s National Civil Aviation Policy led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and launched in June 2016.
Under the scheme, nearly half of the seats in Udan flights are offered at subsidised fares, and the participating carriers are provided a certain amount of viability gap funding (VGF) – an amount shared between the Centre and the concerned states.
This is one of the initial decisions taken by Mr. Scindia, who took charge of the civil aviation ministry last week.
Mr. Scindia, a prominent leader from Madhya Pradesh, was sworn in as a cabinet minister after a reshuffle carried out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last Wednesday. He joined BJP in March 2020 and is a Rajya Sabha member.
Born on January 1, 1971, Mr. Scindia is educated in Harvard and Stanford institutions.
New SpiceJet Flights
On Thursday, SpiceJet announced 42 new flights. The airline will operate a new flight from Pune to Surat, Ahmedabad and Gwalior. The airline will be deploying its Boeing 737 and Q-400 aircraft on these new routes.
Shilpa Bhatia, the chief commercial officer of SpiceJet, said, “As travel demand picks up and leisure travellers step out, we are ensuring that multiple convenient flight options are available for all. Passengers will now be able to travel between key metros which will benefit both business and leisure travellers alike.”
Under UDAN, nearly half of the seats in flights are offered at subsidised fares, and the participating carriers are provided a certain amount of viability gap funding (VGF).
The Centre said earlier this year that it plans to operationalise 100 unserved and underserved airports and start at least 1,000 air routes under the scheme.
The government launched UDAN 4.1 earlier in March, which is focused on connecting smaller airports, along with a special helicopter and seaplane routes. The scheme gives special focus on the northeast region, hilly states and islands.
SpiceJet is focussing on certain cities in its network with Surat and Pune being part of this. Surat will see connectivity to Jabalpur and Pune for the first time and reinstatement of flights to Patna, Jaipur, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, taking to Twitter, Air India Express on Saturday announced fresh flights from Jedda in Saudi Arabia to Kozhikode in Kerala and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. The airline also stated that it opened bookings for the tickets. Notably, these flights will be operated under the Central government’s Vande Bharat Mission.
As per the schedule shared by the airline on its Twitter handle, the flights from Jeddah to Kozhikode will start on July 15 and 17. The flights will depart from Jeddah at 11 a.m. and will land in Kozhikode at 7:20 p.m.
In the similar manner, the Air India Express will run flights from Jeddah to Lucknow on July 16 and 18. As per the schedule, the flights will depart from Jeddah at 11 a.m. and will land in Lucknow at 7:30 p.m.