Introduction of facial recognition at airports will enhance passenger experience
Words: Hareendranathan E. P., Executive Director (Training), AAI
The Indian aviation sector has been booming with unprecedented passenger growth for the past four years. The rise seems to continue as existing airports are expanding and innovating with new ways to handle growth by creating additional infrastructure. New-age infrastructure tries to meet passengers’ expectation, provide better facilities and a secure environment at the airports. Technological advances have become one of the solutions to meet the challenges passengers face during air travel. Multiple stakeholders are involved, and it is essential that they work in a connected atmosphere to reap the benefits of technological advances.
In order to utilise the benefits of technology in the best way, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has brought in the concept of ‘DigiYatra’ – an innovation that enhances seamless travel experience for passengers and simultaneously improves security.
Step towards digitisation
The much-awaited DigiYatra Central Platform will be operational from the next year. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) intends to roll out the programme in Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune and Vijayawada Airport by April 2019.
With the implementation of DigiYatra, passengers will be acknowledging a pan-India powerful platform for the future. Airports will also have the possibility of providing innovative services and consent-based targeted services in future.
Any service provider involved in facilitating travel of passenger from door to door will be able to use this platform in future. The ultimate beneficiary will be the passengers, who will have many travel-related options available to them.
The contours of DigiYatra
Here are some important factors of DigiYatra:
- DigiYatra is a facial recognition programme based on passenger processing, which is a common standard that is adopted world over. It provides a seamless experience right from the time when you enter the airport to boarding the aircraft.
- DigiYatra will have a centralised registration system for passengers. Under the DigiYatra, the passenger can get a DigiYatra ID by sharing minimum details like name, e-mail ID, mobile number and approved identity proof where Aadhar ID is not mandatory.
- The DigiYatra ID will be shared by passengers while booking a ticket. Airlines will share the passenger data and DigiYatra ID with the departure airport.
- A passenger who has created the DigiYatra ID has to undergo a one-time verification at the departure airport during his/her first travel.
- In case a passenger opted for Aadhar-based verification, the identity will be verified online. On successful verification, facial biometrics will be captured and stored in the DigiYatra ID profile of the passenger.
- In case the passenger has chosen any other form of identity and not Aadhar for creating DigiYatra ID, verification will be done manually by security personnel and facial biometrics will be captured, and stored in the DigiYatra ID profile.
- With the DigiYatra mechanism, a successfully registered passenger can go directly to the entry point E-Gate of the airport and scan the barcode/ QR code of their ticket/ boarding pass. A camera will capture the face to compare it with the DigiYatra ID photo. On successful verification of the travel details and facial matching, the E-Gate will open.
- The system will generate a token combining the face of a passenger with PNR of the ticket so that at subsequent checkpoints such as at the check-in counter or the Self Bag Drop counter, the passenger will be identified by face and there is no need to show any document or ID for this purpose.