In a few months, you will no longer be able to book a flight ticket without submitting an ID proof such as Aadhaar, passport or PAN, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said on Thursday. “We are going to move towards a regime where we will require either passport, Aadhaar or PAN, or some other identification measure to be linked to your PNR number so that we can uniquely identify you during the journey,” he said.
The move comes in the wake of the government’s decision to institute a no-fly list, which will bar unruly passengers from taking flights. It is also part of a proposal to further digitise the travel experience for air travellers.
“You already require a unique identification card to enter the airport terminal building. We just want to link the ID with the passenger’s PNR,” Mr. Sinha said.
Host of services
Passengers who submit their Aadhaar number while booking their flight tickets will enjoy a host of services such as a digital boarding pass, an option to book an Uber cab, and a longer duration of free WiFi at airports. They may be able to avoid standing at check-in counters as dedicated baggage drop zones will be made available to them.
Also on the anvil are dedicated queues for passengers who booked tickets using Aadhaar. According to Mr. Sinha, this would reduce the transit time at airports by half.
However, Mr. Sinha clarified that Aadhaar would not be made mandatory for identity proof at airports.
“The idea is to make it a pull experience and not a push experience. You can zip through the airport queues with a digital boarding pass. But if you decide to go the old way and take printouts of tickets and show a physical boarding pass, you are welcome to do so,” he said.
Passengers who use the Aadhaar number for identification at the time of booking can enter the airport using their biometrics, such as fingerprints or iris scan, provided the airports have invested in the facility.
Adopting a biometric entry system will be voluntary for airports, Mr. Sinha clarified.
“Many airports such as Bengaluru and Hyderabad have already used such systems on a pilot basis. So we are confident that it can be scaled up.”