As part of India’s war against COVID-19, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India has launched “Lifeline Udan” flights for movement of medical and essential supplies across the country and beyond.
- The carriers involved in Lifeline Udan operations include Air India, Alliance Air, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Pawan Hans.
- Support is being provided by Airports Authority of India (AAI), AAICLAS (cargo and logistics subsidiary of AAI), AI Airports Services (AIASL), PPP airports and private ground handling entities.
- Private carriers like IndiGo, Spicejet and Blue Dart are operating medical cargo flights on a commercial basis.
- The flights are being coordinated by a control room set up at Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) under the direct supervision of the MoCA leadership.
- The Lifeline Udan cargo includes COVID-19 related reagents, enzymes, medical equipment, testing kits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), masks, gloves and other accessories required by Corona Warriors across the country.
- The Lifeline Udan flights are planned using a hub and spoke model. Cargo hubs have been established at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata. Lifeline Udan flights connect these hubs to each other and therefrom to different parts of the country
What is UDAN?
The Ministry of Civil Aviation took a major step today towards making flying a reality for the small town common man with the launch of UDAN Scheme in 2016.
UDAN is an innovative scheme to develop the regional aviation market. It is a market-based mechanism in which airlines bid for seat subsidies. This first-of-its-kind scheme globally will create affordable yet economically viable and profitable flights on regional routes so that flying becomes affordable to the common man even in small towns.
The objective of the scheme was “Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik” ;TO ensure affordability, connectivity, growth and development. It would provide a win-win situation for all stakeholders – citizens would get the benefit of affordability, connectivity and more jobs.
The Centre would be able to expand the regional air connectivity and market. The state governments would reap the benefit of development of remote areas, enhance trade and commerce and more tourism expansion. For incumbent airlines there was the promise of new routes and more passengers while for and start-up airlines there is the opportunity of new, scalable business. Airport operators will also see their business expanding as would original equipment manufacturers .
Overall, the Civil Aviation Ministry aims to operationalize around 1000 routes and develop more than 100 airports in the next five years. The Ministry aims to achieve this by focusing on operationalizing routes in the priority areas
- Under this phase, 5 airlines companies were awarded 128 flight routes to 70 airports (including 36 newly made operational airports)
- In 2018, the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced 73 underserved and unserved airports.
- For the first time, helipads were also connected under phase 2 of UDAN scheme.
- Key Features of UDAN 3 included:
- Inclusion of Tourism Routes under UDAN 3 in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism.
- Inclusion of Seaplanes for connecting Water Aerodromes.
- Bringing in a number of routes in the North-East Region under the ambit of UDAN.
The UDAN-4 scheme will focus on the priority regions including the northeast, hilly states and UTs J&K, Ladakh, Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.