Biometric technology in airports – The DigiYatra launch
Last week, Jyotiraditya Scindia India’s Civil Aviation Minister launched DigiYatra in Delhi. On the same day, the biometrically enabled seamless travel experience (BEST) was launched in Bengaluru and Varanasi. By March next year, the initiative will have been launched at four more airports in Hyderabad, Pune, Vijayawada, and Kolkata.
Facial recognition technology is expected to create a more seamless experience for passengers, eliminating the need to show physical identification or a boarding pass. Ultimately, the technology will allow for faster movement through the airport, enhanced security, hassle-free, contactless travel. This will speed up the airport process and streamline the distribution of staff enhancing the experience for passengers and staff alike.
One user took to Twitter to report:
“8 minutes. That is all it took from getting off the car to clearing security at Delhi T3 airport despite above normal queues. Thanks for #Digiyatra. Fast, seamless and no ID cards needed.”
Airlines currently operating with DigiYatra technology
At present, Air India, Vistara, and IndiGo allow passengers on their domestic network at the specified airports to use the biometric technology. A SpiceJet official said the airline will join the initiative soon and a Go First spokesperson said they are “working on the implementation of DigiYatra.”
The process from a passenger perspective
For passenger to reap the benefits of the biometric technology, they must first undertake a short registration process.
- Download DigiYatra app on Android or iOS phone.
- Enter details including name, email address, mobile number, photo, driving license.
- Your DigiYatra ID will be created automatically from this information.
- You will need to share your DigiYatra ID while booking flights, and airlines will share you passenger data and ID with the departure airport.
- Scan the code on your boarding pass in the DigiYatra app at the e-gate entry
From here, you will be verified and granted entry into the airport.
The roll out has not been entirely seamless. Some passengers have reported the system had not been switched on in their airport causing queues and frustration.
A different challenge the launch brought was the issue of privacy and data theft. Discussing this, Scindia explained:
“We have moved to a decentralised system and your data is going to be in an encrypted format and it is going to be residing only in your (passenger) mobile phone… 24 hours after your travel, that data is mandatorily going to be purged from the servers at that airport. The data you upload gets completely wiped out in 24 hours even though it is protected by blockchain technology.”
At Aviation Festival Asia, the topic of biometric technology at airports will be explored in depth. An airport CIO panel will discuss ‘How can biometric technology within airports be optimized to uplift the entire airport ecosystem’ and a keynote CEO panel will talk about ‘ The future of seamless travel through effective digitalisation and biometric technology’.
For more on biometrics in airports read British Airways launch Amadeus Biometric Solutions to become the first UK airline trialling biometric tech for international flights.
Article by Jess Brownlow