NEW DELHI :
Making it possible for passengers to hop on to flights without boarding passes, airports in Bengaluru, Delhi and Hyderabad have now started conducting trial runs of a biometric-based boarding system which uses facial recognition technology for identity proof instead of paper documents.
Mint columnist Ajay Awtaney was one such flyer who participated in a facial biometrics trial at the Hyderabad Airport recently. "It took about two minutes to register for access, and then I went straight to the gate without a boarding pass. Bengaluru and Delhi airports have also started a trial of the end-to-end paperless biometrics programme," Awtaney, also an expert in Indian aviation, wrote in a Mint column recently.
If you are flying by Vistara from the Delhi airport in the next 2-3 months, then you can also participate in the biometric trial by registering at the T3 kiosk.
Not just 2-3 cities, the new biometric-based infrastructure is being put in place in phases to allow people to walk into the airport and use their face to authenticate their journey.
"Till recently, we had to carry a paper copy of a ticket to get inside the airport, put paper tags on our handbags, get a paper boarding pass stamped and fill a form to exit the country. Now, all of these processes are likely to disappear," Awtaney said.
Civil aviation ministry's DigiYatra policy document says that passengers will no longer need to show their tickets/ boarding passes and their physical identity cards at many of the check points at the airport, since the ticket/boarding pass is integrated with the identity document. "This will lead to reduced queue waiting times, faster processing times and simpler process," it said.
How the new digital boarding system will work at airports
Under the civil aviation ministry's DigiYatra project, air passengers will have the option to create a new DigiYatra id by giving identity cards like voter id, driving license, Aadhaar, passport, etc.
When you enter the airport, the DigiYatra id will be used to verify your identity using the DigiYatra id and the PNR of the ticket. For all other processes inside the airport during check-in, bag drop, security check and boarding gate, the airport will use face biometrics to identify the passenger.
Not only will your boarding process be easier, but you will also not have to show boarding pass or ID cards at multiple checkpoints at the airport. Voluntary in nature, the new biometric system will help air passengers avoid long queues at the security and baggage checks and boarding gates.