Gangtok, Jan 23
The UDAN scheme (a
regional airport development scheme that aims to letting common citizens fly)
is now working its way through cities such as Hampi, Gangtok, and Pithoragarh; this will further open up the aviation
map of India. According to the reports, the first 20 months of the UDAN scheme
saw nearly 11 lakh passengers flying.
120 new air routes have already opened up to 37 previously un-served airports, and it is now believed that the scheme that was launched in 2017 has played a significant role in pulling passengers to fly. A lot of destinations that were previously only reachable by road or rail now have the option of airlines.
The tourism potential of Gangtok in the state of Sikkim is huge, and launching of the UDAN scheme in this beautiful hill town can be beneficial to a great extent. Hampi, on the other hand, is a destination that is much in demand by both Indian and international travellers. New YorkTimes’ “52 Places to go in 2019” has placed Hampi at number two, and mentioned that the destination is hard to reach. That can definitely change as and when the UDAN scheme opens up in this part of India.
In October 2018, SpiceJet opened up air routes from Pakyong to Kolkata, and Guwahati, thereby providing easier access to Gangtok. Pakyong to Gangtok takes about 1 hour 15 minutes of road travel time. Before October 2018, travellers had to fly to Bagdogra and spend five to six hours on the road to reach Gangtok.
It is important to note here that under the said scheme, Guwahati is being connected to Dhaka, marking the first international airline under the scheme.