In a boost to low-cost air travel in Maharashtra, five routes under the Centre's UDAN scheme, which were discontinued some time back, will resume on February 13.
According to a government official, Mumbai-Nashik, Mumbai-Jalgaon, Mumbai-Kolhapur, Mumbai-Solapur and Nashik-Pune air services will commence again, adding that these routes have been allotted to two airline companies SpiceJet and TruJet (Turbo Mega).
"After the UDAN scheme started, these routes were allotted to Air Deccan airline company. However, several complaints were received about the company violating norms. Despite issuing notice, it could not normalise services. Hence, its services were scrapped andit was decided to appoint new airline companies on these routes," the official said.
In addition to this, two new routes Nashik-Prayagraj and Nashik-Hindon are also expected to start soon, he added.
Under the 'Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik' (UDAN) scheme, nine airports in the state Nashik, Jalgaon, Kolhapur, Solapur, Nanded, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Amravati and Gondia were selected.
It has been proposed to start 28 routes in the state under the scheme.
Currently, Nashik-Delhi, Nanded-Hyderabad, Mumbai-Nanded, Kolhapur-Hyderabad, Kolhapur-Bengaluru and Kolhapur-Hubli routes are operational under the scheme, the official said.
UDAN, which commenced in April 2017, is a regional airport development and Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) aimed at making air travel affordable.
Under the scheme, 50 per cent seats in aeroplanes are offered at concessional rates to passengers.
In case of these seats remaining vacant, the Centre and the respective state offer subsidy in the form of Value Gap Funding (VGF) to the airline company to compensate for the loss.
As part of this scheme, no other airline is allowed to operate that particular route, thus protecting the business interest of the operating company.
"The VGF in tickets is shared by the Centre (80 per cent) and the state (20 per cent). So far, the Maharashtra government has paid a VGF of Rs five crore to airline firms," the official informed.