As part of the Government of India's special event Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has proposed adding 392 smaller routes under the bidding process for UDAN 4.1.
This round is also focusing on connecting smaller airports and special seaplane and helicopter routes. Earlier this year, the government had announced expansion of the country's seaplane travel framework.
Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, MoCA, expressed the ministry's aim to equip the country "with one of the strongest air connectivity networks". UDAN-RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme) is a flagship scheme of the ministry geared to make air travel more accessible and prevalent in the country. As part of UDAN, underserved or unserved airports in smaller cities are made serviceable and subsidised airfare is offered.
So far, the scheme has helped bring into existence 325 routes and 56 airports including 5 heliports and 2 water aerodromes.
Throwing more light on the development, Ms Padhee said, "Following the four successful rounds of bidding, the special UDAN 4.1 bidding round invites bids for priority routes which have not been covered under UDAN so far. This bidding round also includes routes specially requested by the State governments / UT administrations and earlier cancelled/terminated routes. We have observed great demand on many Tier-2 & Tier-3 UDAN routes attesting the necessity along with essentiality and criticality of these regional routes."