Travel destinations

Oudan 5.0. Will target air connectivity to 54 new travel destinations

By CNBC Awaaz STI (Update)

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UDAN 5.0 Program: The fifth phase of the government program will add or reactivate airstrips closer to wildlife sanctuaries, tourist destinations or spiritual places located in Tier II and Tier III cities.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) plans to connect more than 50 wildlife and tourism destinations in the next stage of the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) regional connectivity initiative.

It has identified 54 new destinations for the next phase of the program. The fifth phase of the program – which will be called UDAN 5.0. — aim to add or revive airstrips closer to wildlife reserves, tourist destinations or spiritual places.

The government has prepared a list of potential airports. Most of these destinations already have an underserved or unserved airstrip.

Usha Padhee, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, said, “With UDAN 5.0, we are moving from regional connectivity to remote connectivity. It will be a demand-driven program.”

“We will not decide which routes the airlines will bid for. Airlines know the network best. They will be allowed to select the routes they wish to bid for. the northeast states and islands,” she added.

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The list includes 10 airstrips, which are near wildlife sanctuary like Ranthambore (Sawai Madhopur) and Bharatpur in Rajasthan, Bishnupur, also cultural destination in West Bengal, Yavatmal in Maharashtra, Satna, Dhana and Mandla in Madhya Pradesh and Nagarjuna Sagar in Andhra Pradesh. .

Airstrips near 29 tourist destinations including Chamba, Sidhi, Panchmahri, Jogbani, Raichur, Hirakund and Kohima have been proposed for development as potential airports. Religious and spiritual destinations such as Konark, Bihar Sharif, Hassan, Dessa and Abu Road will be included in the bidding process of UDAN 5.0.

Madhya Pradesh and Bihar are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of this round. Eleven airstrips from Madhya Pradesh and seven from Bihar are included in the list.

Airlines bidding under the program will be allowed to offer the routes. Airlines will have to go through a two-stage bidding process before the route is awarded. The draft program is ready and the bidding process should begin within the next three months.

The UDAN program was launched in October 2016 with the goal of providing air connectivity in Tier II and Tier III cities and making flying affordable for ordinary citizens.

Under this scheme, the RCS was created, which funds the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) requirements of the scheme through a levy on certain domestic flights. A total of 70 airstrips and 433 routes have been commissioned during the previous four phases of the program.

This report is by Rohan Singh, Senior Correspondent, CNBC Awaaz