Under Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme, 359 routes have commenced operations since 2017 with passenger traffic of over 69 lakh so far.
One such route, which has gained momentum is Hindon-Hubli. Situated about 40 km from Delhi International Airport, Hindon, which is also an Indian Air Force base, became a civil enclave in 2019 when flight operations under the UDAN scheme were started.
Since 2020, there have been major changes in terms of flight connectivity and network planning from Hindon Airport. However, the broader focus for all UDAN airports has been to maintain the flight operations on some scale or the other. A direct flight from Hubli or Kalaburagi has been a saviour for passengers who were earlier completely dependent on long train journeys or one-stop flights.
Four years and four bidding rounds later, a total of 59 airports are now operational in the regional areas including heliports and water aerodromes. One key takeaway from the passengers at Hindon Airport is that regional air travel has multiplied connectivity and has led to ease of travel and ease of business in smaller areas of the country.
What remains to be seen is whether the government can keep the scheme sustainable and commercially viable for all stakeholders. CNBC-TV18's Anu Sharma gives a glimpse of the UDAN ecosystem at Hindon Airport.