UDAN Scheme Serves Over 1.30 Lakh Flyers Who Never Dreamt Of Flying: Scindia

As many as 1.30 lakh passengers, including those who could never dream of travelling by air, have travelled due to the UDAN scheme and the aviation sector is set to be the ‘backbone’ of transportation in the country, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia informed Rajya Sabha on Monday. Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, the minister said as of today 2.75 lakh flights have operated in India due to the viability gap funding that has been proposed and given by the central government under UDAN. The minister also told the House that the aviation sector has taken steps to ensure the safety and security of passengers, especially the elderly in case of any complain of ill-treatment.

Responding to a question by independent member Kartikeya Sharma during Question Hour, the minister said 517 routes are in force under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik).

He assured the member that safety and security of passengers is the priority and said the aviation regulator DGCA keeps a track of all safety norms to ensure security of passengers.

“Our airlines are also increasing their capacity and Air India has ordered 470 planes and Indigo 500 new planes and we want to create this sector as a backbone of transportation in the coming days,” he noted.

On a question about the Nanded airport in Maharashtra being non-functional, he said an airline started operating at the airport.

“It is our government’s priority to make Nanded airport operational, but the problem is not with the ministry but with the airport, which has been handed over to a private sector entity by the state government. The private entity has not even reimbursed the airport authority fees and facilities had to be withdrawn.

“We feel that if the state government takes back the Nanded airport then we would be able to make it operational. I would urge the state government to take back the Nanded government under its ambit to help make it operational,” he noted.

To another supplementary by YSRCP member V Vijaysai Reddy, he said, “In every situation, you can look at a glass half full or half empty and the member proposes to see it (from) half empty viewpoint but we in the government look at a half full viewpoint.” “It is only due to the efforts of Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and the government that today 1.30 lakh passengers have travelled through UDAN yojana, who could never ever dream of travelling on a plane before.

“It is only because of his vision that today 2.75 lakh flights have operated in India due to the viability gap funding that has been proposed and given by the central government for this scheme in particular,” Scindia said.

It is only because of his vision that the North-East has been brought into the mainstream from the periphery and nine new airports have been made and six of them have been made operational, the minister asserted.

He also said that the viability gap funding is given for three years for an airline. “We have a target of 1,000 routes under the scheme and today 515 routes have been operational.” He said there was 78 routes that are still continuing even after three years, which is 15 percent of the total and it is our endeavour this will only increase in the days to come.

“…By 2030, India will have 42 crore air travellers in the country in the days to come,” he said.

The minister also said that steps have been taken with respect to flight operations during fog. There have been only 0.05 per cent cancellations during 2020-21 and 2021-22 and 0.01 per cent delays have taken place due to fog in the country, he added.