On January 25th, 2022 UDAN-3.0 turned 3 ! The Ministry of Civil Aviation awarded routes to airlines under the third phase of its regional connectivity scheme (RCS) or UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) on January 25 in the year 2019.
The ministry had revealed that 73 networks, consisting of 235 routes have been identified in the third phase of the RCS on 25th January 2019. Of these, 23 are priority routes (routes connecting hilly areas of Himachal and Uttrakhand, north-east states and J&K), 166 routes other than priority and 46 routes proposed by the ministry of tourism. The 235 routes includes connectivity to 16 new airports, 17 under-served airports, 50 served airports and six aerodromes, taking the total connectivity to 89 airports under the third phase.
Belagavi airport which was lying under-utilised, for almost one year gap as from April 8 2018, some services in Belagavi were closed and from May 14 2018, all the five services that were operational from a private budget Airline Spicejet i.e., Mumbai-Belagavi, Bengaluru-Belagavi, Chennai-Belagavi and Hyderabad-Belagavi were shifted to Hubballi to get benefits under central government’s UDAN scheme. Under UDAN 2.0 Hubballi Airport was selected under the catagory of ‘UnServed’ airport. And Belagavi couldn’t be brought under UDAN 2.0, as Belagavi was an operational airport.
Under the pressure from Public, Industrialists, institutions Belagavi politicians met aviation minister several times to include Belagavi under UDAN 3.0. Finally it was included in the Scheme under the catagory of ‘Under-Served’ and routes were announced on 25th January 2018 in which 5 Airlines were awarded with 13 routes.
The efforts made by the leaders, Industrialists, Airport director from Belagavi has paid off as Belagavi airport has bagged highest routes, flight operations in the history of UDAN scheme in the entire country. Yes, Five airlines namely – IndiGo, Spicejet, StarAir, Alliance Air and Trujet were awarded with 13 routes & 34 flights operations which is the highest air routes allotted to a single airport under the scheme. And is the third busiest airport of Karnataka.
First UDAN flight : First flight under UDAN scheme was launched between Belagavi-Ahmedabad-Belagavi by StarAir from Sanjay Ghodawat Group (SGG) on 5th May 2020. StarAir operated 50 seater Embraer-145LR aircraft to connect these Cities.
Traffic : Belagavi airport witnessing very good passenger traffic flow, as per the data from Directorate General Of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Belagavi registered with 39,063 passenger footfall with 773 aircrafts movement in the month of January 2021 which is the highest traffic that was recorded in a single month. And later it got affected due to Covid19 first, second and third waves due to travel restrictions and fear. Currently the passenger footfall is between 29,000-30,000 a month which is seeing upward growth again.
Award : Belagavi Airport bagged award under the catagory of ‘Underserved Airport with most RCS routes operationalised’. Award was presented by Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on November 24, 2021.
Routes yet to launch : The airlines Spicejet, IndiGO, Alliance Air and Trujet launched all their routes allotted under the scheme, StarAir has so far launched its 7 routes from Belagavi, yet to launch 2 more routes i.e., Belagavi-Jaipur and Belagavi-Nagpur likely in the Summer Schedule-2022.