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Govt's low-cost flights scheme had improved connectivity: Prez

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
President Ram Nath Kovind today said that the government's scheme for low-cost flights has improved connectivity and generated new employment opportunities.

In his maiden address to a sitting of the two Houses of Parliament, he applauded the government for its UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) or the regional connectivity scheme under which new airports and helipads have been set up.

"While only 76 airports of the country were connected with commercial flights since Independence, under the aegis of 'UDAN', work has been initiated to connect 56 airports and 31 helipads in a short span of 15 months. So far, flights have commenced from 16 such airports," Kovind said.

The President said, "Along with improving connectivity, these schemes are also generating new employment opportunities."

The government has awarded selected routes under its regional connectivity scheme in two rounds of bidding.

While a total of 128 routes were granted to five carriers in the first round that concluded in March last year, 325 routes were given to 15 airlines and helicopter operators in the second round earlier this month.

The scheme envisages making flying affordable for the masses by capping fares at Rs 2,500 per hour of flight on a fixed-wing aircraft and the same amount for a 30-minute flight on a helicopter.

The government provides viability gap funding or subsidy for 50 per cent of the seats set aside for being offered at discounted rates by airlines and all seats up to 13 passenger seats for helicopters.

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First Published: Jan 29 2018 | 6:05 PM IST

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