Thursday, November 24, 2016

Kullu airport inducted under UDAN scheme

The Kullu-Manali Airport at Bhuntar has been included under UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) scheme by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). UDAN was launched by the government last month and it seeks to connect small cities by air as well as make flying more affordable for the masses.
Kullu Airport Director AN Sharma said the AAI had called for open bidding from all interested stakeholders, including airlines, on the government’s regional connectivity scheme UDAN. The Kullu Airport and many other airports throughout the country having less than seven flights a week were included under the scheme. Airfare of Rs 2,500 or lower is to be offered for flights of less than one-hour duration.
The scheme is a market-based mechanism in which airlines bid for seat subsidies through auctioning. Operators will assess demand on routes and submit proposals for operating and providing connectivity on such routes and seek Viability Gap Funding (VGF), if any, while committing to certain minimum operating conditions, Sharma stated.
So far only national carrier Air India was plying daily flights from Delhi to Kullu. With the inclusion of Kullu Airport under UDAN scheme, other airlines would be encouraged to conduct operations on this sector. Air India would also offer lower airfares after other operators start scheduled operations and offer UDAN seats, AN Sharma added.
23/11/16 Abhinav Vashisht/The Tribune

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