How many times have you seen someone forgetting their original ID Card at an airport entrance and fretting on what to do next? Chances are: very often. However this worry is all set to become a thing of the past as SITA, an air transport IT and communications service provider and Airports Authority of India (AAI) is all set to launch fully biometric air travel. By Bindu Gopal Rao



The Concept

In line with the Government’s ‘Digiyatra’ concept the plan to implement this paperless idea is by leveraging the Aadhaar biometric identity system with SITA’s Smart Path technology. Incidentally, SITA’s ‘2017 Passenger IT Trends Survey’ has indicated that Indian passengers show greater willingness to use biometrics to speed up their journey through the airport. At present, passengers have to show printed or mobile tickets and a government identity card to enter airports but under the new system, airport entry would be based on biometrics.



The Process

A template document for establishing an Aadhaar-based system at airports, approved by security agencies and the civil aviation department will allow airports to adopt biometric readers and other technology to implement the system. The domestic passenger’s Aadhaar and foreign passenger’s passport would be linked with the databases of airlines, airports and other stakeholders. This database will interact seamlessly between airports, airlines and Aadhaar authorities and will be the base of this system. Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Cochin airports and the state-owned Airports Authority that runs over 100 airports have evinced interest as it improves their security architecture, capacity augmentation and also reduce operating costs.



Time Efficiencies

Research has shown that more people are able to clear e-gates at airports than those that are manned. The Aadhar-based process enables a passenger to be verified in under five seconds at every checkpoint right up to the boarding gate, completing the screening process in 10 minutes, compared to the current 25 minutes it takes. Manual gates will be available for passengers who do not wish to use biometrics as well as for international travelers. So get ready to make your airport experience a breezy one.