PM Modi launches cheap fight scheme ‘UDAN’ from Shimla

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Shimla, April 27, 2017: You can now fly to Shimla from the national capital for just Rs 2,000, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a regional air connectivity with low-cost flights scheme ‘UDAN’.

Modi during his day-long visit to the Queen of Hills launched the central government’s UDAN “Ude Desh ka Har Nagarik” scheme, building efficient regional air connectivity, from Jubbarhatti, the tabletop airport located 2,196 metre above sea-level and some 22 km from here.

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Accompanied by Himachal Governor Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Union Ministers P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Jayant Sinha and J.P. Nadda, Modi simultaneously flagged off the inaugural UDAN flights on the Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors through video conferencing.

The Shimla Airport had been shut for scheduled flights since September 6, 2012, affecting tourists and business travellers to the state.

Air India subsidiary Alliance Air will operate the Delhi-Shimla flight.

‘UDAN’ (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) is a scheme under which the fares of flights will be capped at Rs 2500 per seat per hour.

PM Modi flaged off the first UDAN flight on Shimla-Delhi sector at Shimla’s Jubbarhatti airport. Simultaneously, he will also flag off the inaugural UDAN flights on Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors, the PMO said in a statement.

The PMO said in a series of tweets:

It added:

These flights would connect airports spread across over 20 states and union territories including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The airports that would be connected under UDAN include Bhatinda, Shimla, Bilaspur, Neyveli, Cooch Behar, Nanded and Kadapa.

On each flight, 50 percent of the flight capacity would have a cap of Rs 2,500 per seat/hour and a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 13 on helicopters with the same price cap. Airline Allied Services would operate on 15 routes, SpiceJet 11, Turbo Megha Airways 18, Air Deccan 34 and Air Odisha Aviation 50.

Under UDAN, the operators would be extended viability gap funding — for which money is partly raised through a levy of up to Rs 8,500 on flights operating on major routes like Delhi and Mumbai. The amount is estimated to be around Rs 205 crore per annum for the operators chosen in the first round of bidding. The viability gap funding would be in place for three years for the airlines concerned from the date of starting operations in a particular UDAN route.

The scheme also provides for various benefits including no airport charges and three-year exclusivity on the routes.

While in Shimla, the Prime Minister will also address a rally at the historic Ridge Maidan.This will be his first visit to Shimla after becoming the Prime Minister. He had visited the capital of Himachal Pradesh last in 2003 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

However, it is his second visit to the state. Last year, he had addressed a BJP rally at Mandi.

Modi was in-charge of organisational affairs of Himachal Pradesh for eight years till 2002.

Wefornews Bureau

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