New Delhi, In a surprising move, the regional air connectivity scheme Udan faces a significant reduction in funding as announced in the Budget 2024. The allocated budget for Udan in the fiscal year 2025 is ₹502 crore, a sharp decline from the revised estimate of ₹850 crore for the fiscal year 2024 and the initial estimate of ₹1,244 crore. The revised funds will be utilized to revive 22 airports, initiate 124 air routes, and provide viability gap funding for north-east connectivity.
The civil aviation ministry is set to receive ₹2,300 crore in FY25, a reduction from the revised estimate of ₹2,922.12 crore in FY24 and the initial estimate of ₹3,113.36 crore.
Furthermore, ₹1,158.79 crore has been earmarked for Air India Asset Holding Ltd (AIAHL), a special purpose vehicle holding various assets owned by Air India during government ownership. This funding is dedicated to servicing loans transferred to AIAHL as part of Air India’s financial restructuring.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned that ₹1,000 crore has been sanctioned for three years, starting from April 2023 until March 2026. This amount is allocated for the revival and development of unserved and underserved airports, helipads, water aerodromes, and advanced landing grounds.
The government highlighted its commitment to the Udan scheme, aiming to improve regional connectivity. As part of the third phase of Udan, 33 airports, heliports, and other landing grounds have been tentatively identified for revival and development. A budget of ₹410 crore was sanctioned in July for the development of 15 aerodromes, with remaining heliports and water aerodromes identified in ongoing and future bidding rounds under the Udan framework.