Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri yesterday said that 274 'UDAN' air regional connectivity routes have been made operational in the country connecting 45 airports and three heliports since the launch of the scheme in April 2017.
Puri said this while flagging off the first helicopter service by Pawan Hans in Uttarakhand under the UDAN-RCS scheme.
Accordingly, three rounds of 'UDAN' have already been undertaken and so far close to 50 lakh passengers have travelled in flights under the scheme covering airports in 19 states and 2 UTs.
At present, the fourth round of 'UDAN' is under process.
On the new helicopter service, Puri said that opening of these new routes will bring people of the state closer and support tourism in the region.
"Commencement of the new heli services will enhance the aerial connectivity between hilly regions in Uttarakhand and bring down the average travel time to 20-25 minutes. This will also assist the Chaar Dhaam Yatra pilgrims," the ministry said in a statement.
"Pawan Hans Ltd. will operate thrice-weekly helicopter services on this route. Viability Gap Funding (VGF) is provided to both operators and passengers under the UDAN scheme to keep the fares affordable for the common people. Accordingly the fare for these routes is Rs. 2900 per seat. MoCA awarded the Dehradun- New Tehri – Srinagar – Gauchar route to Pawan Hans Ltd. under the UDAN 2 bidding process."
As per the statement, two more networks connecting "Dehradun to Ramnagar, Pantnagar, Nainital, Almora, Pithoragarh, and Dehradun to Mussoorie" will also be operationalised by Pawan Hans soon..