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Centre assures regular flights between Imphal and Mandalay
Correspondent
 IMPHAL, Dec 2 - Keeping in view the long cherished dream of the people of Manipur to have air connectivity with Myanmar’s Mandalay, the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has assured scheduled flight service between Imphal and Mandalay under the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme, acknowledging the state’s importance in the Act East policy.

According to a press release by the Manipur Chief Minister’s Secretariat, the assurance was conveyed following continuous persuasion by the Manipur government after the introduction of passenger chartered flight service between Imphal and Mandalay on November 23. The Civil Aviation Ministry had then permitted the chartered flight service twice a week till December 7.

The flight service was operated after the state committed to bear the subsidy amount in the larger interest of fulfilling the long cherished expectations of the people.

However, considering the unsustainability of this financing model over the long term and the limitations of chartered flights, Manipur has urged the Ministry of Civil Aviation to include the Imphal-Mandalay sector under the International UDAN scheme.

Airlines are required to bid on the number of seats per flight for which subsidy in the form of pre-decided payout per seat is required under the UDAN scheme. Unlike chartered flights where the rates of subsidy support are fixed arbitrarily on a lump sum basis, the financial support under International UDAN will be more economical, as rates will be fixed based on competitive bidding.

“This will immensely benefit passengers in terms of low ticket price, predictable schedules of flights as they will be full-fledged scheduled flights, and uninterrupted period of flight service,” the release said. “They (Centre) have also assured that the bidding process for selection of airlines, for this sector, will be expedited and completed within two months.”

Scheduled flights in the Imphal-Mandalay sector under International UDAN will also give a major boost to tourism, investment, economic growth and job creation in the state and the region as a whole, it said.

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