Saturday, August 12, 2023

CAG report reveals challenges in UDAN scheme implementation; only 52% of awarded routes commenced operations

In its latest report on the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s regional connectivity scheme – UDAN, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) stated that only 52 per cent (403 out of 774 routes) of the awarded routes were unable to commence operations.

Out of the 371 commenced routes, only 112 routes (30 per cent) successfully completed the full concession period of three years.

The CAG report also highlighted that among these 112 routes, only 54 routes (seven percent of the awarded routes) connecting 17 RCS Airports managed to sustain operations beyond the three-year concession period, as of March 2023.

Under UDAN, airlines were invited to propose connectivity to underserved/unserved airports in October 2016 for the first time.

The report noted: “Up to March 2021, three rounds of bidding for UDAN 1, 2, and 3 were completed and are included in the scope of this audit. In the first round of bidding, proposals for 132 RCS routes were received and awarded, connecting 45 underserved/unserved airports.

“In the second round, 228 fixed-wing routes and 83 heliport routes connecting 30 unserved/underserved airports and 31 heliports were awarded. During the third round of bidding, 305 fixed-wing routes and 26 water aerodrome routes connecting 23 underserved/unserved airports and 10 water aerodromes were awarded,” the report said.

The CAG report found that while the response to the scheme was positive — passenger travel on RCS routes increased from 2.63 lakh in 2017-18 to 24.97 lakh in 2022-23 — implementation improvements were necessary based on audit observations.

11/08/2023 IANS/Statesman

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