Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 27 April 2017 launched air regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Har Nagarik) during his day-long visit to Shimla. Under the scheme, the first UDAN flight was flagged off on Shimla-Delhi route.
Simultaneously, PM Narendra Modi also launched the inaugural UDAN flights on Kadapa – Hyderabad and Nanded - Hyderabad routes.
Prior to the launch of this UDAN flight, Kingfisher was the only airline that operated regular flights between Delhi and Shimla till September 2012.
Highlights of the UDAN flight on Delhi -Shimla route
• This UDAN flight will be a regular flight, which will operate five days in a week.
• The flight will depart at 6.10 a.m. from Delhi and will arrive Shimla at 7.25 a.m. On the same day itself, the flight will depart at 7.45 a.m. from Shimla and will return to Delhi at 8.45 a.m.
• The airfare for this 1-hour journey of around 500 km or the airfare for 30 minute journey on a helicopter will be capped at Rs 2500.
Highlights of the UDAN Scheme
• The UDAN Scheme is a key component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was launched in June 2016.
• UDAN is a first-of-its-kind scheme which aims to stimulate regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism.
• Under the scheme, 24 airports in the western region, 17 in the northern region, 11 in the southern region, 12 in east and six in north-eastern parts of the country will be connected under this scheme.
• The government will also connect 45 unserved and under-served airports with the scheme.
• The operators are Air India subsidiary Airline Allied Services, SpiceJet, Air Deccan, Air Odisha and Turbo Megha. They would be operating 19-78 seater aircraft.
• Operators will have to provide 50 per cent of the flight capacity with a cap of Rs 2500 per hour and a minimum of five and a maximum of 13 people on helicopters with the same price cap.
With the regular plying of UDAN flight on Delhi - Shimla route, the tourism industry of the state is expected to get a boost.
Presently, the annual tourist arrival in Himachal Pradesh crosses 1.8 crore (18 million) in a year. The tourism sector contributes approximately seven per cent to the State Gross Domestic Product.