Other cities and tourism sites include Uttar Pradesh, Aurangabad’s Ajanta and Elora caves, Somnath in Gujarat among others.
At least 12 popular tourist destinations in India may get airports as the tourism ministry has requested the civil aviation ministry for the same to boost connectivity, Hindustan Times reported.
These cities and tourism sites include Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, Aurangabad’s Ajanta and Elora caves, Goa, Somnath in Gujarat, Khajurao in Madhya Pradesh, Hampi in Karnataka, Kaziranga in Assam and Mahabodhi temple in Bihar.
The tourism ministry has also offered to fund these projects, some official told HT.
The ministry is in the process of identifying the hotspots of tourists, including some in Buddhist circuit, under the regional connectivity scheme. The civil aviation ministry, however, demanded a comprehensive list if the project has to go forward and development work has to begin.
An official from the civil aviation ministry told HT that consultancy meetings have taken place and proposal is underway. “Once the proposal is finalized, we will start developing the airports. Some of these areas have functional airports while others have airstrips. Depending on the requirement, we will develop it.”
Under the connectivity scheme, airlines volunteer to ply on difficult routes, and the civil aviation ministry provides the viability gap funding (VGF). But in this plan, the tourism ministry wants to provide funding and there will not be a fare cap.
After the conclusion of the connectivity scheme’s second phase, 78 airports including 36 currently served airports, 13 currently underserved airports and 29 currently unserved airports will be connected. 31 helipads or heliports will be connected in priority areas, additionally.
13 lakh seats are also expected to become available after the second phase. The fare for a one hour journey of 500 km on a fixed-wing aircraft would be capped at Rs 2500 under this scheme. A 30-minute journey in a helicopter would cost the same.
Under the connectivity scheme, selected airlines would have to give 50 percent of the flight capacity (minimum nine and maximum 40) as scheme seats for operations. A minimum of five and maximum of 13 seats on the RCS flights for operations through helicopters are also to be reserved under the scheme.Udey Desh ka Aam Nagarik (UDAN) is a scheme as part of the National Civil Aviation Policy, announced in 2016. It was launched to make air travel more affordable and widespread.