UDAN Makes Traveling by Air Budget Friendly in India
UDAN the regional connectivity scheme by the Government of India is bringing some great news in store for the tourism industry. The initiative started in 2017 aims at making traveling to the popular tourist places in India affordable by air. That’s just the wider view of the initiative as the first major component is to revamp the existing airports and make them more accessible for travelers. While the second component focuses on starting budget routes to the 100 unserved and underserved airports that sit in smaller towns of the country. Among these places comes the name of top tourist spots like Gangtok in Sikkim, Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand and Hampi in Karnataka.
What’s interesting to know is that within 20 months of its launch, the scheme has pulled in almost 11 lakh travelers. All of which was possible by starting 120 air routes to 37 underserved and unserved airports. Since then, the Civil Aviation Ministry has been trying to expand the UDAN scheme in order to connect the famous tourist places in India by flights.
Moreover, the tourism industry finds UDAN very helpful to make traveling to regional destinations easy. All of which were only accessible by long rail or road journeys. That being said, TruJet, a regional airline started direct flights from Bangalore and Hyderabad to Ballari which sits close to Hampi. Recently listed in the ‘52 places to go in 2019’ by The New York Times, reaching Hampi by air has been a task. But with the underserved Vidyanagar airport near Ballari being accessible, the UNESCO World Heritage Site now sits 25 miles away.
Additionally, if the stats have to be considered, then there is a noticeable rise in the number of travelers taking the Bengaluru-Vidyanagar-Bengaluru route. From March to November 2018, 28,677 travelers took the route. However, there is a slight possibility of all the travelers not going to the heritage site but there definitely is an increase in the footfall.
Along with that, the route from Pakyong which connects Sikkim without much hassle was also opened. To support the same, SpiceJet started flights on the same route. The route is way better than the previous one where passengers had to fly into Bagdogra to reach Gangtok, a 5-6 hours road trip. SpiceJet airlines also run daily flights on the Kolkata-Pakyong-Kolkata route. 4790 passengers boarded the UDAN flights between October and November.
Some other tourist places taken over by the UDAN scheme are Shimla in Himachal Pradesh where the services started in April 2017. Air India’s subsidiary, Alliance Air runs flights on the Delhi-Shimla-Delhi route and has seen a footfall of 14,041 passengers.
And the list doesn’t end here as the scheme also covers Pithoragarh and Pantnagar in Uttarakhand. After which, there has been a rapid increase in the number of travelers to 2,43,688 and 1,40,794 respectively. Furthermore, the Dehradun-Pantnagar route is started by Alliance Air while Pithoragarh is tied to Dehradun and Pantnagar through Heritage Aviation, a helicopter operator.
Besides, the UDAN scheme will make traveling to 60 new routes in India affordable like Ahmedabad-Bhuj-Porbandar-Rajkot and Bikaner–Jaisalmer–Jodhpur–Udaipur. The main motive that the Civil Aviation Ministry wishes to see is a gradual increase in the percentage of travelers in India. This will also increase job opportunities, bring economic growth and will help in revamping the infrastructure of air transport.
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