Sunday, October 07, 2018

1.5 years after launch, UDAN remains a mixed bag as two airlines fail to perform

Seventeen months since its launch, over 4.5 lakh people have flown on the government’s subsidised UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme where fares are capped at Rs 2,500 per hour of flying. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has released figures from this regional connectivity scheme (RCS) from April 27, 2017, to September 23, 2018. The number could have been much higher but for the dismal performance of two small airlines that bagged a lion’s share of RCS routes but have been unable to start flying majority of them.
According to the AAI data for the 17 months of UDAN, a total of 15,723 flights were operated by seven airlines on about 60 routes. A total of 7.5 lakh passengers flew on these flights, of which almost 4.6 lakh took the subsidised fares with the remaining taking higher non-subsidised fares.
The figures could have been much better, but for the performance of Air Deccan and Air Odisha. Last March, the government had awarded 128 RCS routes out of which 50 and 34 were bagged by Air Odisha and Air Deccan, respectively. However, AAI data shows both these airlines have operated very few flights on less than 10 routes each, like Nasik-Pune, Shillong-Agartala, Ahmedabad-Mundra and and Raipur-Jagdalpur.
Total number of passengers flow on RCS flights by Air Deccan and Air Odisha was 5,093 and 1,842, respectively. Even their combined passenger carriage of 6935 is less than 1% (0.9% to be precise) of the 7.5 lakh passengers who have flown on RCS flights. The data shows on none of these routes has either Air Deccan or Air Odisha flown more than 1,000 passengers.
The Shillong-Dimapur route awarded to Air Deccan and started on May 1, 2018, lists 'one' as the total number of passengers flown till September 23. The return sector, Dimapur-Shillong, lists two as the total number of passengers flown on this route since launch.
07/10/18 Economic Times