Use your face to zip through airports

Voluntary facility to be rolled out from Feb. 2019

Published - October 04, 2018 10:26 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A mere facial scan will soon enable air travellers to skip long queues and zip through various check points at airports in the country. The Centre is set to introduce the “Digi Yatra” facility to start with at the Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports in February.

The facility, which is voluntary, would require passengers to initially register themselves at a web portal by providing an identity proof, Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, R. N. Choubey told reporters at a press conference on Thursday. The travellers would then be required to undergo a one-time verification at an airport. Following which, the individual’s facial identity would be captured and mapped onto a newly created “Digi Yatra” profile and a distinct identification number would be generated.

Passengers would then have to provide this identification number at the time of purchasing an air ticket, to avail the paperless access facility.

Scan a QR code

The Ministry’s “Digi Yatra” initiative, or biometric-enabled digital processing of passengers, would enable travellers to enter the airport building by scanning a QR code on their mobile phones, after undergoing facial recognition.

Once inside the airport, a passenger would be able to self check-in, drop baggage, pass through e-gates to access security and embarkation areas with just a facial scan, thus obviating the need to produce a boarding pass at every step.

However, travellers would still have to undergo mandatory security checks including frisking.

The web portal is scheduled to be ready by February 2019 and Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports would be the first to implement the digital processing of passengers.

The facility would thereafter be also made available at four other airports — Kolkata, Varanasi, Vijayawada and Pune.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said that a passenger’s travel history would be “purged” after the completion of a journey and that the “Digi Yatra” programme would comply with the European Union’s Data Protection Regulation.

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