Mumbai: Naresh Goyal-promoted private carrier Jet Airways will launch services under the Union Government’s regional connectivity scheme ‘Udan’ from June, with the first flight to be operated on the Lucknow-Allahabad-Patna sector.

The city-headquartered full-service airline, in which gulf carrier Etihad Airways holds 24 per cent stake, had bagged four routes in the second round of the bidding in January, in which a total of 325 routes were awarded to various firms, including helicopter services providers.

Starting from June 14, Jet Airways will fly services three times a week on the Lucknow-Allahabad-Patna sector with an ATR aircraft, the airline said in a release. To begin with, Jet Airways will launch operations on three out of the four routes awarded, and will subsequently launch Lucknow-Bareilly-Delhi-Bareilly-Lucknow, it added.

“The launch of these new (Udan) flights mainly on-board ATR aircraft, will allow Jet Airways to embark on a journey to ensure that unserved regions and under-served airports are maximised to their full potential,” said Gaurang Shetty, whole time Director, Jet Airways.

Commencing from June 15, Jet Airways will fly three times a week between New Delhi and Nashik with a Boeing 737, while the operations on the Nagpur-Allahabad-Indore sector will commence from June 16, the airline said. In the first round of bidding last year, 128 routes connecting 70 airports were awarded to five airlines – Alliance Air, SpiceJet, TruJet, Air Odisha and Air Deccan.

In the second round, letters of award have been given to 90 proposals for 325 routes to operators like Jet Airways, SpiceJet, IndiGo, Alliance Air and Pawan Hans, among others. Out of these, 129 routes are in a newly created category of ‘priority areas’ that include Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal, Uttarakhand, North East, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands.

With at least half of the seats in Udan flights offered at subsidised fares, the participating carriers will be provided a certain amount of viability gap funding (VGF) – an amount shared between the Union Government and the states concerned. To fund the scheme, the Civil Aviation Ministry is collecting a levy of Rs.5000 per departure from airlines operating in major domestic routes, including Mumbai and Delhi.

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