Civil aviation ministry to press facial recognition in action at airports come 2019

The civil aviation ministry had decided to develop standards for digital processing of passengers at airport to ensure uniform implementation and passenger experience across Indian airports through a connected ecosystem, Suresh Prabhu, Central Civil Aviation Minister shared with media recently, PTI reported. He released a policy on biometric based digital processing of passengers at airports called “Digi Yatra” at a press-conference as well. He said that a technical working committee having members from airport operators, airlines and industry has been formed for development of standards. The media was told that DigiYatra Central Platform will be operational by end of February 2019. Bangalore and Hyderabad International Airports will be ready with pilot implementation by end of February 2019, PTI reported. Airport Authority of India (AAI) intends to roll out the programme initially at Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune & Vijayawada by April 2019, the release added.

“Any service provider involved in facilitating travel of passenger from door to door will be able to use this platform in future through innovative solutions” the minister said. The Minister asserted that the ultimate beneficiary will be the passengers, who will have all the travel related options available to them, PTI release said.

Minister of State of Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha said that DigiYatra was a Facial Recognition based passenger processing which is a common standard being adopted the world over. “Under the Digi Yatra, passenger can get a Digi Yatra ID by sharing minimum details like Name, e-mail ID, Mobile number and details of one approved Identity proof where Aadhar ID is not mandatory. This DigiYatra ID will be shared by passengers while Booking ticket. Airlines will share the passenger data and DigiYatraID with the departure airport”, he further said. 

PTI release further noted that as Indian Aviation was witnessing an unprecedented passenger growth for the past 50 months and it was likely to continue, meaning that the existing airports had to handle more passengers for considerable time before additional infrastructure was created. “The passengers are expecting better facilitation at the airport and Security remains a key concern in air travel. Leveraging technology is the only solution to meet such challenging requirements”, aviation secretary RN Choubey said.  Pointing out that multiple stakeholders are involved in a seamless travel process for a passenger, he emphasised that it was important that the stakeholders work in a connected environment for reaping the benefits of technology. He said, in order to achieve this objective, the Ministry of Civil Aviation evolved the concept of “DigiYatra” which envisaged a connected ecosystem enhancing the seamless travel experience for the passengers and simultaneously improving the security.

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