The Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) have issued a notice inviting bids to operate as many as 30 routes under Round 3.1 of the UDAN regional connectivity scheme. AAI and MoCA decided to consider an additional bidding round under UDAN 3.0 to include priority/cancelled/crucial routes which have not been covered under UDAN Scheme so far. Routes available under round 3.1 includes routes connecting unserved, underserved airports and unserved routes connecting served airports. Bids have been invited for routes such as Guwahati-Tezpur, Guwahati-Passighat, Port Blair-Hutbay/Havelock/Neil Island, Raipur-Bilaspur, Patna-Hazaribagh, Hazaribagh-Kolkata, Hissar-Chandigarh, Hissar-Jammu, Kargil-Leh/Jammu, Srinagar-Thoise and Rewa-Jhansi/Bhopal among many other routes. For the first time, the centre has also bid out routes for Lakshadweep islands including Agatti-Mincoy and Agatti-Kavaratti.
According to the notice, airlines opting to bid for these new routes shall not receive any “exclusivity of operation” right as is given to airlines under previous UDAN routes coupled with any additional concession apart from funds through viable gap funding. The government has invited bids till February 22, 2019 after which it shall award the routes to airlines on February 27, 2019. It has set a deadline of six months for the airlines to commence operations on such routes from the date of award to the airline.
Centre, on January 25, released 235 routes that were awarded under third phase of the scheme. Certain routes, however, were yet to be finalised in consultation with state governments and were withheld by the ministry