Suresh Prabhu seeks early operationalisation of 56 new airports under UDAN

May 09, 2018, 07:07 IST | PTI

His remarks also come at a time when nearly half of the 128 routes awarded to various operators in the first phase of the scheme -- UDAN -- March 2017 are yet to be operational

Suresh Prabhu
Suresh Prabhu

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu today said early operationalisation of 56 new airports under the regional connectivity scheme would be among his focus areas.

His remarks also come at a time when nearly half of the 128 routes awarded to various operators in the first phase of the scheme -- UDAN -- March 2017 are yet to be operational.

Five airlines -- Alliance Air, SpiceJet, TruJet, Air Odisha and Air Deccan -- had bagged 128 routes connecting over 30 unserved airports under the first phase. UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying more affordable for the people. As many as 70 airports, including 31 unserved and 12 under-served ones, were to be connected under UDAN in the first phase.

In a statement, Prabhu said improving passenger amenities, promoting cargo handling facilities and early operationalisation of 56 new airports under UDAN would be his focus areas.

The minister also said that he would be simultaneously working on improving regional connectivity and improving passenger services in a big way. According to the statement, the government is "committed" to the building of airport capacity as part of NABH (NextGen Airports for Bharat) Nirman initiative.

Under the initiative, announced in the 2018-19 Union budget, the government plans to expand airport capacity more than five times to handle a billion trips a year. Prabhu said fair and equitable land, long-term master plan for airport and regional development and balanced economics for all stakeholders are the three key aspects of NABH Nirman.

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