Under Digi Yatra, which is a Civil Aviation Ministry initiative launched to promote paperless, hassle-free and speedy airport entry, a facial recognition system will be introduced at four government-run airports.
Air passengers from Varanasi airport will be among the first who can board flights via a facial recognition system, according to officials quoted in an HT report. The interesting fact is that Varanasi is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency. Under Digi Yatra, which is a Civil Aviation Ministry initiative launched to promote paperless, hassle-free and speedy airport entry, a facial recognition system will be introduced at four government-run airports. The aim of the ministry is to reduce the waiting time of passengers by implementing this system. It is also being expected by the ministry that the move will lead to a reduction in overall costs and ultimately in air fares.
Under the Digi Yatra initiative, a passenger will first have to get a unique ID by registering on the Digi Yatra portal using an approved ID proof document such as Aadhaar, PAN or driving licence. Once this step is completed, the passenger will have to go through a one-time facial verification at an e-gate at the airport’s departure terminal. Following this, the details will be stored on a centralized registration system and thereafter, the passenger’s face will act as the boarding pass. Then, the passenger after dropping off baggage, if any, can directly proceed for security check.
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The four government-run airports for which the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has issued requests for proposal (RFP) are Varanasi, Pune, Kolkata and Vijayawada. AAI is inviting companies to work out the logistics as well as implement the system. One of the officials said that the deadline for the roll-out has been set for 30 April 2019. He further added that private airports in Hyderabad and Bengaluru may roll out the system by January next year. The report said that at the time of booking tickets, a passenger will have to share his or her Digi Yatra ID. While, in case of multiple bookings, all IDs will have to be shared separately.
According to a senior Civil Aviation Ministry official who was quoted in the report, dedicated lanes will be required for Digi Yatra passengers where the face of the passenger will act as the boarding pass. Therefore, he/she will not be required to visit any counter except for security check. While the companies that are selected will put the equipment in place to implement the system, the facility will be free of cost for passengers.