The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday published the draft scheme to extend the affordable air travel programme – Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik or UDAN scheme – to international circuits.

Minister of Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu said the objective of the UDAN international scheme is to enhance international air connectivity between Indian states and international destinations by providing financial support to airlines. “It is the next step after the positive domestic impact of UDAN.”

The UDAN scheme was launched in 2016 to develop the regional aviation market. It will include flights to underserved smaller towns and a certain number of seats will be subsidised under the programme – with tickets at around Rs 2,500 for an hour-long flight and fares going up pro-rata for longer distances.

“The [UDAN international] scheme is to be made operational only for states, which demonstrate their commitment to implement and provide the requisite support for promoting operations under the scheme,” the draft read.

State governments will propose a list of routes to be connected, provide funding and airline operators will assess the demand on the identified routes and submit proposals to provide connectivity, PTI reported. “The scheme envisages providing monetary support, in the form of a subsidy per seat, for the unsold seats from the number of seats as bid by the airline,” Prabhu said.

The scheme also proposes to set up an International Air Connectivity Fund – a dedicated fund to provide subsidy support under the scheme. It will be created with contributions from state governments.

Prabhu said Assam and Andhra Pradesh governments have participated in the scheme and identified routes. The subsidy support will be extended only up to three years and the Airport Authority of India will be the implementing agency.

The Centre has invited inputs from stakeholders till September 4.