Forget ID cards, use Aadhaar number to fly

India’s unique identification programme Aadhaar is a “critical” step in enabling fairer access to government services and has “tremendous potential” for fostering inclusion, according to a United Nations report   | Photo Credit: G.P. Sampath Kumar

You may soon not have to worry about carrying physical identity documents at metro airports as a plan for biometric authentication of flyers is all set to take off.

After the successful pilot run for Aadhaar-based airport entry authentication for passengers at the Hyderabad airport, the Mumbai and Bengaluru airports are planning to take up similar pilot projects.

Hyderabad pilot project

The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad started a pilot project last year allowing passengers to enter their Aadhaar number at kiosks set up at one of the entry gates. The authorities now plan to implement the exercise at all entry gates.

However, the move will not be mandatory and passengers without Aadhaar numbers can proceed after showing physical identity documents at the airport entry gate.

“After successfully completing the POC [proof of concept] at the Hyderabad airport, we have formally asked UIDAI [Unique Identification Authority of India] to recognise us as authorised user agency,” S.G.K. Kishore, CEO, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL), told The Hindu on the sidelines of the India Aviation ICT Forum 2016 here.

Mr. Kishore said the move will enable the airport to get a larger bandwidth from UIDAI so that the kiosk processing is made faster at all the entry points and to avoid any delays to passengers.

“It’s simple and successful. You just need to put in your Aadhaar number and the security personnel will be able to verify your details on the kiosk. We want to give seamless experience to the passengers,” he said.

Mr. Kishore said the airport also plans to take other initiatives to go paperless by using biometric identification.

“We want to do the POC for doing away with physical boarding passes and link everything to the Aadhaar number,” he said.

Rajiv Jain, CEO of Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) said Mumbai airport is ready to go for Aadhaar-based identity verification soon. “There is a government proposal to integrate Aadhaar with biometrics at airport entry points. We may do it next year,” he said.

The Kempegowda International Airport at Bengaluru is also preparing to introduce biometric screening at entry through a pilot project next week, a senior Bangalore International Airport Limited executive said.

“The biometric-based entry in check-in procedure will substantially reduce the boarding time for passengers at airports and can be followed elsewhere too,” Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said during the event.

The 2016 IT Trends Benchmark study, released on Friday by SITA, global air transport IT provider which organised the conference, revealed that around 80 per cent of the airports are expecting IT budgets to increase in 2017 . It also said that around 83 per cent of airports plan major passenger self-service initiatives in the next three years.

(The correspondent was invited by SITA to attend its India ICT Aviation Forum 2016 in Goa)

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 9:56:26 AM |

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