Centre to start helicopter and smaller aircraft services to hilly areas

Sep 21, 2017 15:47 IST
Centre to start helicopter and smaller aircraft services to hilly areas

The Centre is planning to start helicopter and smaller aircraft services to hilly areas, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands under the second phase of UDAN scheme.

The information was shared by Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha in Chennai. “Under the UDAN round 2, special consideration has been given to hilly areas, north-east, Andaman and Nicobar Islands to operate helicopters and smaller aircraft,” he said.

The government had announced increasing viability gap funding for helicopter operators and allowing smaller planes, among other concessions, under the regional air connectivity scheme in August 2017.

UDAN phase II seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports. It also seeks to make flying more affordable with fares capped at Rs 2500 for one-hour flights.

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Referring to the first round of Udan, Sinha said that the government was able to add around 30 new airports. The government now hopes for better participation from the airlines during round 2 of UDAN.

Besides this, the minister revealed that the Centre is working on adding more international routes, as per demands of the passengers, from southern cities such as Coimbatore and Tiruchirapalli.

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Referring to the Chennai airport, he said that the annual passenger traffic at Chennai airport is expected to increase from 20 million at present to 35 million in the coming years. He further added that the Centre was working on a greenfield airport in Chennai for which around 2,000 acres of land would have to be provided by the Tamil Nadu government.

The Civil Aviation Minister was at Chennai along with some other senior government officials to inaugurate the Chennai-Mysuru direct flight service offered by a private operator -'Trujet' under the UDAN scheme. The flight, which will arrive in Chennai from Hyderabad, would resume its journey to Mysuru so, it would not only be connecting Chennai and Mysuru, but also Hyderabad and Mysuru.

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