No Odisha airstrip finds place under UDAN 2, IndiGo to operate from Allahabad to Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: Odisha received a huge disappointment after the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Thursday announced results of second round of bidding under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), also known as UDAN, as no airstrip was selected for new flight operations in the state.

In UDAN 2, 90 proposals awarded to 15 airlines and chopper operators for 325 routes, out of which 129 routes are new in the states include Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal, Uttarakhand, North East, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands.

There was no airstrip from Odisha found place in the bidding under UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) 2 scheme.

The maximum numbers of routes were bagged by the Interglobe Aviation – the parent company of IndiGo Airlines – and SpiceJet. The airline company Jet Airways also won the bid for few routes. However, for the first time the chopper services were included under UDAN scheme. Pawan Hans won routes in the helicopter proposal category.

Odisha needs to be satisfied with only one flight under the scheme as IndiGo will operate flight services from Allahabad to Bhubaneswar. The airline has 20 routes — Kannur-Bangalore; Kannur-Trivandrum; Cochin-Hubli-Goa; Bangalore-Allahabad-Pune; Nagpur-Bhubaneswar-Allahabad; Mumbai-Allahabad; Hindon-Allahabad-Dehradun; Hindon-Gorakhpur-Allahabad and Hindon-Jaisalamer-Udaipur — in the second round of bidding under the scheme.

Total 19 states will be benefitted in UDAN 2. Among the states, 15 airports and helipads in Uttarakhand came under the scheme.

Odisha government had proposed the Civil Aviation Ministry for inclusion of 23 airstrips under the second phase of UDAN scheme for air connectivity. Among 23 airstrips, 9 are managed by the state government and seven are managed by various private companies or individuals or under the Defence Ministry. The remaining seven are yet to be in use.

As four airstrips including Jharsuguda and Rourkela that had found place in UDAN 1 are yet to be functional, this could be the reason that the major aviation players paid interest for operating flights to other cities in Odisha, said sources in the Civil Aviation Ministry.

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