The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Thursday, August 26, inaugurated direct flight operations on the Jamnagar- Bengaluru-Hyderabad route under the UDAN scheme.
Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, while virtually flagging off the first direct flight operations said that the UDAN scheme envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a game-changer for the civil aviation sector of the country.
Star Air will operate for the first time direct flights between Jamnagar and Bengaluru including flights between Jamnagar and Hyderabad under the scheme. The airline will be operating flights on the route three times a week and deploy its 50-seater Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft. The route marks the commencement of the 32nd UDAN route by the airline.
Game-changer for Jamnagar
Air connectivity to enhance economy: Gujarat’s Jamnagar is the hub of all economic activities- trade, culture, or religion. Jamnagar is also known as the World’s Oil City due to its oil refining and petrochemical complex. Further, there are more than 5,000 large-scale and 10,000 small-scale workshops manufacturing brass items. The region records the largest production of brass items in the country. The city is vital for the economic development and financial growth of Gujarat. However, it lacked any direct air or rail connectivity. However, the financial hub of Gujarat will now reap the benefits from the launch of direct flight operations.
Before the launch of direct flight connectivity, due to the absence of any direct mode of air or rail connectivity, anyone coming to the city had to spend extensive hours in traveling. The availability of a direct flight would benefit Jamnagar and provide financial leverage to the economy at large. Saving even an hour may result in 3-4% financial benefit.
Air connectivity to reduce time travel: The direct flight between Jamnagar and Bengaluru will drastically cut the travel time to 135 minutes from earlier 7 hours taken for air travel using connecting flights via Mumbai. Further, the alternate option of road travel between the two cities takes over 30 hours while train travel takes around 20.
Similarly, it takes more than one day to reach Hyderabad from Jamnagar by train and road travel or vice-versa. Due to the non-connectivity of direct flights between the two cities, it takes more than 6 hours for air travel using the connecting flights.
In addition to fostering the economy financially, natives can easily fly between the two cities by opting for a flight of just 130 mins.
Air connectivity to boost tourism: There are more than 100 temples in Jamnagar. Jamnagar, also known as ‘Chhoti Kashi’ is well known for its historical Jain temples, namely Vardhman Shah Temple, Raisi Shah Temple, Sheth Temple, and Vasupujya Swami Temple. Better connectivity would also boost the tourism prospects of the city. Furthermore, it is also the gateway city to one of the Chard Dhams – Mokshapuri city – Dwarka.
Air connectivity with 3 major cities
Operationalizing of the Jamnagar- Bengaluru- Hyderabad route would also expand the aerial connectivity of Jamnagar to three major cities of India including Mumbai (Maharashtra), Bengaluru (Karnataka), and Hyderabad (Telangana).
Additional flights in Gujarat
The Union Civil Aviation Minister during the inauguration ceremony announced that the Ministry is planning to commence 10 more additional flights from Gujarat under the UDAN scheme. Recently, the Ministry had commenced operations on 44 new flights in Madhya Pradesh.
The Union Minister also wrote to the Chief Ministers of Karnataka, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, and Goa, directing them to strengthen the aviation infrastructure in their respective states.
The UDAN Scheme
‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik’ or the UDAN scheme is a regional connectivity scheme spearheaded by the Government of India (GoI). The scheme aims to develop smaller regional airports to allow common citizens easier access to aviation services.
To date, 369 routes and 60 airports (including 5 heliports and 2 water aerodromes) have been operationalized under the UDAN scheme.