The Ministry of Civil Aviation has assured Manipur that the Imphal-Mandalay route will be included in the International UDAN scheme, with the bidding process for selection of airlines to be completed within two months, said the state government on Monday.
A statement by the state’s information and public relation (IPR) department said the Manipur government had been pursuing the introduction of flight operations between Imphal and Mandalay for quite some time, but instead of a scheduled flight service, the Aviation ministry gave permission for chartered flights, that too for a limited duration of time.
Government sources said the chartered Mandalay-Imphal-Mandalay flight service by AIR KBZ Ltd, which was launched on November 23, is to run only till December 7.
The flight service is operated with the state bearing a subsidy amount of Rs 12,956 out of Rs 14,000, per round trip, for each unsold seat up to a maximum of 35 seats.
Considering the unsustainability of this financing model, the IPR statement said the state was exploring various options to have direct scheduled flights between Imphal and Mandalay at economical rates, while imposing the least cost on the state exchequer.
Under the UDAN scheme, airlines are required to bid on the number of passenger seats per flight for which they will require a subsidy. Unlike the chartered flights, where the rates of subsidy support are fixed arbitrarily and on a lumpsum basis, the financial support under International UDAN will be more economical, as rates will be based on competitive bidding.
“This will immensely benefit passengers in terms of low ticket price, predictable schedules of flights as they will be full-fledged scheduled flights, and uninterrupted period of flight service”, the IPR statement said.