The government has announced new flights under the UDAN scheme to connect small cities with the metros.
- The flights utilises less used airports in the country and seeks to offer affordable flights to the people of the country.
- The Centre plans to operationalise 100 unserved and underserved airports and start at least 1,000 air routes under a regional connectivity scheme called UDAN scheme (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik).
About UDAN Scheme:
- 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.
- The scheme will be jointly funded by the central government and state governments.
- The scheme will run for 10 years and can be extended thereafter.
- The 4th round of UDAN was launched in December 2019 with a special focus on North-Eastern Regions, Hilly States, and Islands.
- The airports that had already been developed by Airports Authority of India (AAI) are given higher priority for the award of VGF (Viability Gap Funding) under the Scheme.
- Under UDAN 4, the operation of helicopters and seaplanes is also been incorporated.