New Delhi: Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday (September 21) that 78 new routes have been identified and approved under the first phase of Udan 4.0, and added that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is in the process of awarding these routes to the selected airline operators (SAOs).
In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, the Civil Aviation Minister said that after three rounds of bidding under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)- UdeDeshkaAamNagrik (UDAN), pre-COVID, 688 valid routes were awarded, out of which 281 routes were operationalized.
“After the suspension of domestic flight operations from 25th March 2020 to 24th May 2020, domestic air services including RCS operations have recommenced with effect from May 25, 2020,” the statement said, adding “Airlines are resuming the commenced RCS routes in a calibrated manner.”
According to the ministry, some of the reasons for the non-operationalization of few UDAN routes are:
1. Lack of infrastructure at civil airports due to non-availability of land, delay related to compliance of the regulations by the airport operators, lack of road connectivity to the airports.
2. Non-completion of the process involved in obtaining Scheduled Commuter Operators Permit by the Airlines.
Due to COVID-19, the commencement of the civil work of airports got delayed. Also, due to the suspension of domestic operations, the overall commencement of new routes got adversely affected.
Under 100 airports/heliports/water aerodromes are to be developed by 2024, awarded in various rounds of bidding under the Regional Connectivity Scheme.
Notably, the 4th round of bidding for the UDAN has commenced on 3rd December 2019.