The Ministry Of Civil Aviation on Thursday, 4th October, unveiled the Digi Yatra initiative. 

The initiative would allow flyers to use facial recognition technology to enter the airport.

Now here’s one more reason to smile at the camera!

The Initiative

Air passengers can now use facial recognition technology to enter any airport in the country under the new Digi Yatra initiative, unveiled by the Government on Thursday. The initiative seeks to promote paperless and hassle-free travel.

These voluntary facial recognition-based access systems aim at a better passenger experience.

Union Aviation Minister, Suresh Prabhu, says that the airports enabling the Digi Yatra technology would be able to take passengers at “face value”. Good puns! 

How Does It Work?

1. Every flyer wishing to opt for the Digi Yatra (DY) service will need to generate a unique DY ID by giving his or her details on an aviation ministry portal.

2. The generated unique ID must be provided when booking an air ticket.

3. The airline would share the passenger data and the ID with the airport from where the passenger would depart.

4. On the first visit to the airport getting a DY number-linked air ticket, passengers will need to get their ID card verified. Optionally, Aadhar number may be linked for online verification and avoiding any paper-based interventions.

5. Once verified, the photo of the flyer will be added to the DY profile in a “secure” central database.

6. A registered passenger, when visiting the airport subsequently, will scan the code of his/her e-boarding card to validate passenger and flight details. Then, DY ID will be verified using facial recognition systems and e-gates would open. A token will also be generated combining the flyer’s face with PNR of the ticket, so that ticket details are available for facial recognition at subsequent checkpoints.

7. The Digi Yatra initiative also plans to give real-time notifications about flight congestion and delays and notify passengers when their luggage reaches the baggage claim belt.

Related: How Will We Benefit If Vodafone and Idea Merge?

Execution Plans And Timeline

A not-for-profit company would be set up with the AAI (Airport Authority of India) and private airport operators as stakeholders.

The enrollment for DY would be done by this company.

Civil Aviation Secretary, R N Choubey, said that e-gates would replace “all human interface points except at the point of security check. The physical security check will remain.” He also added that the Ministry plans to roll out Digi Yatra to all airports.

Union Aviation Minister, Suresh Prabhu listed Hyderabad and Bangalore as the first two airports that would get this service, by next February-end.

By April, Varanasi, Kolkata, Pune, and Vijaywada would be joining the list.

What Are The Benefits?

The Government aims at making domestic boarding, a completely paperless affair.

DY would enable airports to know the last point cleared by the flyer.

In case the airline makes frantic last-minute boarding calls to passengers, this would narrow down the search area and make searching more effective and faster.

Apart from this, the government says that the DY process will require lesser manpower, and would ensure that passengers complete airport processes in a swift manner.

Privacy Leaks?

As soon as Indian Government asks for private data, there is always a risk of data leaks and privacy invasion that wanders around in the back of our heads.

When the Union Aviation Minister, Suresh Prabhu was asked a query regarding privacy infringement, he said, “No way there is going to be an intrusion of privacy… This (Digi Yatra) is purely voluntary”.

The real benefits and risks of this system can only be gauged, once it is operational. The initial setup and verification process may become tedious. But again, who doesn’t want to get their baggage and go straight out of the airport, as soon as they can?

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Times Of India, Indian Express, Economic Times + more

You May Also Like To Read:

Government Launches App Called ‘Cyber Trivia’ To Counter Online Suicide Challenges


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here