May 05, 2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Ude Desh ka Aam Anagrik (UDAN) regional connectivity scheme on 27 April with its first flight at a subsidised fare of Rs 2,036 between Shimla and New Delhi. Shimla airport got air connectivity after a gap of five years with this flight and will operate for five days in a week. "Why should air services be only for the elite in this country? I told my officials that I want people wearing hawai chappals to be taking flights. Today, you can fly (UDAN flights) at rates that are cheaper than taxi, which may cost you Rs 8 to Rs 10 per kilometre. Under these flights, you can fly for as low as Rs 6 to Rs 7/ kilometre and reach Delhi from Shimla in an hour," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at his public address in Shimla. The country could make about 75 airports operational and we plan to make 30 airports operational in just a year, the PM said.

“Earlier aviation was considered to be the domain of a select few. That has changed now,” Modi said, “The lives of the middle class are being transformed and their aspirations are increasing. Given the right chance, they can do wonders,” he said.

Flights from Delhi will depart five times a week at 6.10 am, while from Shimla, they will start at 7.45 am. “The maximum load factor from Shimla to Delhi will be 15, while from Delhi, it will be 35. The fare for 24 seats will be Rs 2,036. The VGF per seat will be around Rs3,340. This will be followed for next three years,” Air India said in a statement.

There are no business class seats on this plane. Currently, it takes 10 hours to reach Shimla from Delhi, which will be reduced to about an hour with Air India’s new flight.

Modi also flagged off flights from Hyderabad connecting Nanded in Maharashtra and Kuddapa in Andhra Pradesh through video conferencing, which will be operated by Trujet.


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