Before 2016, India had 75 operational airports, built over a century. In the year-and-a-half since, that number has increased to 100. The boost in connectivity is thanks to UDAN, a government scheme launched in October 2016, that has linked 25 smaller cities and towns by air.
UDAN or ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’ is aimed at making flying affordable and accessible for the masses in tier-II and tier-III cities. It has introduced 84 new flying routes and helped redevelop 34 airports.
How the idea took off
Under UDAN, for the first time, the government reached out to private airline operators, asking them to identify new routes they would be willing to fly, with subsidy from the government.
A part of this subsidy was made possible by convincing state governments to participate in the scheme and slash the VAT paid by airlines. The government also made the scheme lucrative by providing airlines the exclusive right to fly the routes they had chosen. Read More