Indian commuter airline Star Air (India) (S5, Belgaum) has secured 40 new routes under the Indian government's Ude Desh ka Aam Naagri (UDAN) RCS scheme that subsidises carriers to operate specific regional routes.

"Star Air plans to launch these routes and expand its operations significantly," reads a Star Air statement on the matter, adding that as a result, the airline will start flying to "seven or eight" new airports. ch-aviation has contacted Star Air for specific details on the new routes awarded.

The current round of subsidised route allocations, including routes handed to startup Fly91 (GOA, Goa Dabolim), is known as UDAN 5.0, the fifth round of allocations in the now seven-year-old program, which is a core part of the government's National Civil Aviation Policy. UDAN not only subsidises flights, but it is also putting capital into building and/or redeveloping regional airports, with the overall goal of adding 1,000 regional routes within India and putting scheduled services into 50 currently unserved regional airports.

Starting operations in 2019, Star Air now flies to 17 destinations within India with a fleet comprising a single EMB-145LI, four EMB-145LRs, and two E175LRs. An additional pair of E175LRs are also on order, ex-Belavia (B2, Minsk National) stock coming on leases from Nordic Aviation Capital, with both aircraft likely to start servicing the new routes.

Two months after being awarded UDAN routes, carriers are required to submit a business plan to the civil aviation ministry outlining how they intend to service the routes, including details of new aircraft acquisitions, personnel hires, and technical requirements. Under the UDAN 5.0 rules, airlines are expected to start operating on routes within four months of them being awarded.