1. Roll out of biometric entry passes at airports delayed again

Roll out of biometric entry passes at airports delayed again

Biometric entry passes at airports will take more time before becoming a reality, with "technical issues" forcing authorities to delay its roll out for the third time in less than six months.

By: | Published: June 11, 2017 6:40 PM
Biometric, Airports, Government, Civil Aviation Ministry, AAI, Airport Authority of India, Supreme Court Biometric entry passes at airports will take more time before becoming a reality, with “technical issues” forcing authorities to delay its roll out for the third time in less than six months.(Representative Image: IE)

Biometric entry passes at airports will take more time before becoming a reality, with “technical issues” forcing authorities to delay its roll out for the third time in less than six months.  The government has decided to provide biometric entry passes for employees of airlines, airports, ground handling agencies and other individuals working inside the aerodromes.  There is continuing delay in implementing the biometric entry pass system even as the Civil Aviation Ministry is working on an ambitious ‘Digiyatra’ initiative for seamless and paperless travel for the passengers.

Sources said the plan was to put in place biometric access control system across 43 airports from December 2016. Then it was extended to March this year and now the date of its implementation is yet to be finalised.  A source at the Airport Authority of India (AAI) said the delay is “due to technical issues” being faced by the National Informatics Centre (NIC)–the implementing authority for the government’s IT-based initiatives.  The proposal was to link an individual’s Aadhaar information with the biometric access control system, the source added.

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However, it could not be immediately ascertained if the delay was on account of uncertainties as the Supreme Court is yet to decide on the privacy issues raised with respect to linking Aadhaar for certain purposes.  “We are expecting that the biometric system will be ready in another 2-3 months,” said an official at the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).  The AAI has sought 18 months time to be able to execute the biometric access control system across the 43 airports, the official added.

With the delay, the validity of airport entry passes currently used by ground staff has been renewed till December 2018.  Airport entry passes–issued by the BCAS–allow airport access to airline crew, ground staff, engineers, security personnel and other individuals. The AAI had last year awarded Indian public sector firm Broadcasting Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL) more than Rs 110 crore worth contract for providing biometric access control system at airports.

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