The fourth round of UDAN, the government's regional connectivity scheme, has seen airlines keenly vie for routes in the northeast. Of the 78 routes that have been awarded, about 40 are from the region.
Among the airlines, IndiGo, Air India unit Alliance Air Aviation (AAAL) and newbie Big Charter are among the prominent winners, sources in the industry told Moneycontrol. The government-owned Pawan Hans, the helicopter service company, has also won bids to start services in the region.
Big Charter's branded airline Flybig plans to start operations in October, as this Moneycontrol story had reported.
Some of the destinations in the northeast that will be connected include Shillong, Guwahati, Rupsi, Tezpur and Imphal.
From rest of the country, destinations like Shimla, Diu, Agatti, Shravasti and Bilaspur are the ones who will now come on the aviation map. SpiceJet, said sources, may have won the bids to operate flights from Agatti, located in Lakshadweep.
A release from the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA) added that 29 served, eight unserved (including two heliports and one water aerodrome), and two underserved airports have been included in the list for approved routes. This is the first time a water aerodrome and heliports are being connected undertone scheme.
Overall, 766 routes have been sanctioned so far under the UDAN scheme. Of these, 274 routes have been operationalised, connecting 45 airports and three heliports.
UDAN, or Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik, was launched in 2017 as a regional connectivity scheme to bring access to smaller cities and towns. The government provides support through viability gap funding.
For the fourth round of the scheme, the funding could to the tune of Rs 257 crore a year, with the average funding per route at Rs 3.29 crore, a senior executive told Moneycontrol.