NEW DELHI: Soon, you will not need ID proof and boarding cards to board a domestic flight in India. The government has zeroed in on facial recognition as the biometric to be used for giving passengers paperless entry into airports for domestic flights.
The process will roll out at the PPP metro airports – Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru – and the four run by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) – Varanasi, Vijayawada, Pune and Kolkata.
“This process under digiyatra (DY) will be rolled out at the four AAI airports in the next five to six months. The others shortlisted will get the system soon thereafter. Later on, other airports will follow suit,” said a source.
“Facial recognition was chosen over thumb impressions and iris scan. It is the norm globally. Face is the least private biometric indicator. During a scan, it breaks the face into thousands of units and matches them with the record. So even if someone’s forehead is bandaged due to an injury, it will still be able to match the biometrics. The facial picture will need to be updated every five years or so,” said the source.
You need to sign up to get a boarding pass at face value
The digi-yatra (DY) system will be in addition to the current process and will not be mandatory for flyers. Only domestic flyers who wish to whizz through airports can opt for it.
For this, passengers will need to register themselves on an aviation ministry portal by using any identity card like passport, Aadhaar or driving licence. On the first visit to the airport, the facial recognition will be taken. On subsequent domestic journeys, your face will be your ID and ticket.
The facial data will be kept in a secure manner with common access to airports in India.
Last month, Bangalore International Airport Limited had tied up with a technical service provider6 for this purpose. “Biometric technology will identify passengers by their face as they move across the airport, avoiding stops and the repeated presentation of boarding passes, passports or other physical identity documents,” BIAL had said.
Underthe system, flyers’ DY-linked airline database will show what flight they are booked on and similarly linked airport databases will show they have been through security and allowed access to boarding gate closer to flight departure time.