‘Hawai Chappal To Hawai Jahaaz’ Indeed: Overwhelming Response to PM Modi’s UDAN SchemePassengers arrive to board Ludhiana-Delhi flight as part of the UDAN scheme. (Gurpreet Singh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Seven out of ten seats sold under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) known as Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) were sold to customers, The Hindu has reported. The information was accessed by the newspaper under the Right To Information (RTI) act. These figures pertain to the past 16 months since the scheme was launched in April 2017.

The UDAN scheme aims to take flight services to tier 1 and tier 2 cities of the country, thereby enabling the common man to access air travel. 428 routes were awarded to 17 airlines and helicopter operators under this scheme in two rounds of bidding. Of these, eight airlines have started flights on 96 routes. Helicopter services are yet to begin.

Under the scheme, airlines have to set aside half of the seats for a price of Rs 2,500 per hour of flight. In return, the airline participating in the scheme will get subsidies from the concerned state government and the central government.

Mumbai-Porbandar, Delhi-Kanpur- Delhi, Mumbai-Kandla-Mumbai have been the most successful routes with a passenger load factor (seat occupancy) of over 90 per cent. Shillong-Dimapur-Shillong, Ahmedabad-Bhavnagar-Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad-Jamnagar-Ahmedabad have seen the least passenger load factors among the functional routes.

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