Plan to make air travel

  • Dream come true

New Delhi: The Government of India unveiled a scheme on Friday under which fares for one-hour domestic flights would be capped at Rs 2500 one way.

Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, told media persons that the scheme known as UDAN – Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik or helping the average Indian fly – is intended to increase air connectivity between small towns and boost tourism.

Basically, the plan is aimed at making unused or under-utilised airports profitable by making them fare-attractive by keeping ticket prices minimum and taxes low. By doing so, the government wants to levy additional tax on passengers and airlines flying profitable or trunk routes.

Said to be the first of its kind in the world, UDAN’s pricing structure will be dual. One, it will based on market mechanism; two, 50 per cent seats will be capped and the rest will be sold at market prices. The scheme is expected to take off in January next year.

Airlines have their own reservations about the untested scheme. The main issue is higher fares passengers have to shell out to fly to metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi because of new levies. More importantly, the scheme looks like a sophisticated way of penalizing city dwellers.

According to a Times of India report, either the government charges a 2 per cent cess from passengers flying on profitable routes, or it asks airlines to pay Rs 8,000 every time they land at an airport in a major city or metro.

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