Guwahati likely to be first city to get international flights under UDAN as Centre finalises bids for Dhaka, Bangkok routes

New Delhi: With the Centre finalising bids for the Guwahati-Dhaka and Guwahati-Bangkok routes, the Assam's largest city is likely to be the first to be connected internationally under the UDAN scheme, a senior official said on Monday.

Guwahati likely to be first city to get international flights under UDAN as Centre finalises bids for Dhaka, Bangkok routes

Representational image. Reuters

"We got the bids for two airports: Bangkok and Dhaka. For the remaining four, we got invalid bids. There was competition for these two cities. There was more than one bid. We have finalised the bid for Bangkok as well as Dhaka. The file is already with the (aviation) minister, the day minister signs it, we will announce it," said the official of the ministry of civil aviation. Under the UDAN scheme for affordable international connectivity, Assam government is likely to provide a subsidy of Rs 2,370 and Rs 4,400 for a certain number of seats on the flights operating on the Guwahati-Dhaka and Guwahati-Bangkok routes, respectively.

"For the last one year they (Assam) have been pursuing the ministry and they have committed the funds. They are keen that whatever money is there should be used to bid for six destinations. We got the bids for two airports: Bangkok and Dhaka. For the remaining four, we got invalid bids," said the official. Assam had proposed subsidised international connectivity under UDAN scheme from Guwahati to six destinations — Singapore, Dhaka in Bangladesh, Yangon in Myanmar, Kathmandu in Nepal, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Bangkok in Thailand.

Under the international version of the UDAN scheme, the subsidy will come from the states and not the central government. Moreover, in contrast to the domestic UDAN scheme, no airline company will be given any exclusivity over any route under international UDAN scheme. On 14 October in 2018, the central government invited proposals from interested air operators for the international version of its 'UDAN' (Ude Desk Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme as it seeks to enhance air connectivity from India to select overseas destinations. The government, in an effort to make flying affordable for masses, had in October 2016 announced the domestic UDAN scheme with airfares capped at Rs 2,500 for a one-hour journey through subsidised ticket rates and to provide air connectivity to smaller towns. Five airlines were mandated to fly on 128 regional routes in the first phase of the bidding in March 2017, and 15 airlines on 325 regional routes, including those having chopper operations, in the second phase in January 2018.

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Updated Date: Jan 07, 2019 21:50:49 IST

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