Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday flagged off country’s first low-cost flight under the Centre’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme at the Jubbarhatti airport on the outskirts of Shimla. The flight from Shimla to Delhi will cost Rs 1,920 under the scheme.
Shimla has got its air connectivity back after a long gap. Kingfisher Airlines was the last commercial airline to have operated regular flights to Shimla till operations were suspended four and a half years ago. The airport at Jubbarhatti, which is 22 km from Shimla, has been shut for scheduled flights since 2012 after soil erosion led to shrinking of the runway. But now with UDAN putting the Himachal capital back on the country’s aviation map, it has brought cheer to the tourism industry.
The Prime Minister on Thursday also flagged off the inaugural UDAN flights on Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors through video-link. On each flight, 50 per cent of the seats would have a cap of Rs 2,500 per seat in one-hour flights as per the new scheme launched by the NDA government.
Speaking at the event, PM said: “Hawai chappal wala aam nagrik bhi hawai safar kar sakega (Now a person wearing common slippers will be able to travel in the airplane).” He also drew a parallel with taxi fare in the hills and asserted that travelling in the low-cost planes under the UDAN will be cheaper than a road journey in a taxi. There is plan to provide this facility at 70 airports, of which 30 will be connected in the first phase.
Flight to Delhi from Shimla under the UDAN will cost Rs 1,920 for 50 per cent of the seats .