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Here’s how UDAN is helping India soar

ET Spotlight|
Updated: Jul 16, 2019, 10.10 AM IST
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ET Spotlight
Here’s how UDAN is helping India soar
When Priyanka Sharma, a frequent visitor to Nasik heard about the introduction of direct flights from Ahmedabad to Nasik, her excitement knew no bounds. Priyanka, a mother of a three-year-old, had often wished to make a one-day business trip to Nasik but had to give up several times because of the arduous travel time involved. Back in 2018, a trip to Nasik would have taken her about 11 hours by bus - now, she can reach the budding business city in less than one and a half hours!

UDAN- an aviation breakthrough

There are thousands like Priyanka who have made the switch from their previously laborious travel plans by taking the UDAN route. With ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’ (UDAN) or Regional Connectivity Scheme, the aviation industry has successfully managed to create a capacity of 1 crore seats resulting in a significant increase in domestic passenger traffic in India. Undoubtedly, Indians are more connected than ever before through 100 operational airports in India, of which 35 were added post-2014. And with the Government planning to operationalize 100 underserved airports by 2026-27, more people will be able to join the aerial network – saving time and money and sometimes both.

Catering to the ever increasing air traffic

Data from IATA shows that in March 2018, India registered the highest domestic load factor of 87.8% across the top seven aviation markets in the world. While growth continues to flow in from metros and non-metros, by making flying accessible and affordable under the UDAN scheme, there has been a commendable uptick of 242% in air passenger traffic on RCS routes, between April 2018 - April 2019, as per estimates from MakeMyTrip, India’s leading online travel company. Not so well connected destinations that were once aviation dark areas are now on India’s air travel map providing unparalleled connectivity to flyers. With latent demand now being met by efficient and better connectivity in Tier II and Tier III cities, there is an assured promise of an improved economic landscape in these markets - by making them viable business destinations, home to employment opportunities, increase in commercial and residential real estate development, and most importantly, enhancing the lives of people in smaller cities.

“UDAN has successfully created a new benchmark for regional air connectivity in the global aviation industry, with the kind of impact it is creating for consumers, airline operators and industry at large. With the planned phased rollout and a more robust execution roadmap for the scheme, we are set to see more and more Indians take the aerial route to travel and save time. Well begun is half done” said Deep Kalra, Founder and Group CEO, MakeMyTrip.

New air routes underway
UDAN_Infographic
Already in its third phase now, introduction of UDAN – International scheme with improved connectivity to neighbouring countries, will serve as a key propeller of trade, tourism and most importantly, build opportunities for socio-economic growth amongst eight identified routes. These include Guwahati to Dhaka, Kathmandu, Yangon, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok and two routes from Vijayawada to Singapore and Dubai. Some of the state governments have fired on all engines to instrumentalize UDAN on international routes by providing much-needed monetary support to the bidding airline operators in the form of subsidiary per seat for the unsold seats.

“UDAN has been one of the most effective schemes to promote regional connectivity as prior to UDAN, only seven states had more than three operational airports each. The growth has been promising and the numbers are expected to rise in-line with tourism hotspots like the Buddhist Circuit getting connected through UDAN – extending accessibility, affordability and time benefits to domestic and international travellers” said Saujanya Srivastava, Chief Business Officer, Flights & Growth at MakeMyTrip.

With less than 5 years since the launch of UDAN scheme, the industry is still scratching the surface and the best is yet to come.

(This article is generated and published by ET Spotlight team. You can get in touch with them on etspotlight@timesinternet.in)
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