Assam, especially Guwahati, had requisite funds which made it eligible to take international flights, the official said
Come March and Indians would be able to travel between Guwahati and Dhaka in less than Rs 3,000. This will be possible under the government’s affordable air travel, Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN), scheme.
“There were many states who came to us for UDAN International… But we chose to go with Assam as they had been pursuing the ministry for last one year,” said a senior aviation ministry official.
Assam, especially Guwahati, had requisite funds which made it eligible to take international flights, the official said. The state government is likely to provide a subsidy of Rs. 2,370 (Guwahati-Dhaka) and Rs. 4,400 (Guwahati-Bangkok) for a certain number of seats on the flights operating these routes.
“Assam has airports, which are suitable for international operations but, until now, they didn’t have proper operations running… Now, Assam government was very keen on starting international operations and they placed bids for all destinations,” the official said.
According to another government official, Assam has been selected to connect two cities, Bangkok and Dhaka under UDAN International and these could be the first flights under the scheme.
“The file is already with the minister. We just need his go-ahead,” he said.
The official also said that Centre would finalise UDAN-International by March.
Centre had launched UDAN scheme in 2016 to make air travel affordable for common man. UDAN or regional connectivity scheme (RCS) capped prices of air tickets at Rs 2,500 for every one-hour flight.
Under its international plan, ministry of civil aviation has identified seven international locations including Singapore, Dhaka, Yangon, Bangkok, Kathmandu, Kuala Lampur and Dubai to connect India’s tier-II and tier-III cities. In the first phase, Guwahati and Vijayawada will fly passengers to these locations.
State governments, either on their own, or through Centre can start international flights under the scheme.“The primary objective of the scheme is to assist state governments as they seek to facilitate/stimulate scheduled air connectivity between their respective states and international destinations as selected by them,” according to circular issued by the ministry.