In a bid to boost regional air connectivity, the Cabinet Thursday approved a proposal to "revive and develop" a number of "un-served and under-served airports" across the country at a cost of Rs 4,500 crore.
"Cabinet approves revival and development of un-served and under-served air strips of state governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI), civil enclaves, Central Public Sector Units (CPSU), helipads and water aerodromes," a government statement read.
According to the statement, the government would spend Rs 4,500 crore on the entire exercise. "As an outcome, small cities/towns shall be connected on commencement of operation of flights to under-served/un-served airports," the statement said.
The government said the move will further boost economic development in these cities or towns as well as surrounding areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure development.
The regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying affordable. The revival of airports under UDAN is demand driven, depending on firm commitment from airlines and state governments for providing various concessions.
"Under UDAN phase 1 and phase 2, 56 unserved airports are to be operationalised. Out of these 56 airports, 23 airports have been operationalised. Under UDAN 3, routes connecting 13 unique unserved airports have been awarded on January 25, 2019," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had told the Rajya Sabha on February 13.