With a focus on connectivity of Islands, UDAN 4.0 scheme under the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has invited bids for 3 unserved airports/airstrips in Andaman & Nicobar Island and 1 underserved airport/airstrip in Lakshadweep Island. These are : Campbell Bay, Car Nicobar and Shibpur in Andaman &Nicobar and Agatti in Lakshadweep. The aerodromes are : Hutbay, Long Island, Neil Island, Havelock in Andaman & Nicobar and Minicoy in Lakshadweep.
The Ministry has also recognized 4 water aerodromes locations in Andaman & Nicobar Island and 2 in Lakshadweep Island that is up for bidding. The efforts are in the direction to provide aerial connectivity to the region. The move will not only boost tourism but will also transform the economic situation of the region. Under the UDAN 4.0 scheme, MoCA is also providing additional Viability Gap Funding (VGF) of around 25 per cent to the airlines.
The route connecting “Cochin – Agatti” is currently operated by Alliance Air. The Ministry of Home Affairs aiming to promote the route Cochin-Agatti-Cochin further, intends more airlines to operate this route. Accordingly, as an exception to the Scheme, the Cochin-Agatti route has been incorporated under the current version of the Scheme to provide additional connectivity to the island region.
MoCA aims to operationalize 1000 routes and more than 100 airports in the next five years. This would be achieved by focusing on operationalizing routes in Priority Areas. AAI would focus on developing the no-frills airport in the future and routes connecting such airports would be prioritized for the award of VGF. The market would be incentivized to develop short-haul routes only, providing connectivity to nearby airports.