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6 airports in state part of regional connectivity plan

Routes connecting six airports in Karnataka, including four unserved ones, will go under the hammer as part of the Centre’s ‘UDAN’ scheme to connect regional destinations by air.

Operators have bid for starting services from Bengaluru, Bengaluru HAL, Bidar, Hubballi, Mysuru and Vidyanagar (Ballari district) airports to unserved or under-served airports as per the Regional Connectivity Scheme ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’ (Let the Common Man Fly)              or UDAN.

Bengaluru HAL, Bidar, Mysuru and Vidyanagar are bracketed under unserved airports in the state. Routes will be allocated to operators on February 3 after the counter bids are studied and the government expects the first flight under the scheme to take off by late February or early March.

Officials did not provide details of the routes under which bidding has taken place.

Eleven bidders have submitted bids covering 190 UDAN routes covering 12  under-served and 50 unserved airports. “We have 75 operational airports currently in the country.

Through the bids that we have received for UDAN, it appears that we will now have 43 new airports that will be joining our aviation network. So now, 118 airports are going to be operational once UDAN gets implemented next month or so,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told reporters.

Among the south Indian states, Karnataka has the highest number of airports in this bidding while Kerala has none. Tamil Nadu has four airports — Chennai and unserved airports in Hosur, Neyveli and Salem — while Andhra Pradesh also has the same number — Kadapa, Tirupati, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam.

According to officials, 26 initial proposals are for single routes and 17 are for networks connecting three or more routes. Sinha said the Ministry is not seeking budgetary support for the scheme as it is based on a “self-funding” model.

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