Article Source: Business Standard
Similar to marquee airports such as Schiphol (Amsterdam), Brisbane and Hamad (Doha), travellers could soon enter Indian airports without flashing their identity cards and clear the check-in process through fingerprints and iris scan.
The civil aviation ministry has begun the process of linking the databases of airlines and airports with passenger IDs such as Aadhaar and passport numbers for this. In the coming months, a mobile phone is all that will be required to board domestic flights in India.
Passengers will be able to use biometrics to prove identity before entering terminals and will not have to show ID cards. A flight ticket or eticket will not be needed either as the airline database will show the details of the flight they are booked on, R N Choubey, Aviation secretary told Times of India.
In a small way, the process has already been tried — at a few gates of the GMR-owned Hyderabad airport. The Bengaluru airport, which is owned by the Fairfax and GVK group, is also using biometric information-enabled checking points for swift check-ins.
“Wipro has been told to study whether such an integrated, e-enabled platform can be developed so that all airports can use the database to enable the biometric entry facility across Indian airports,” Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told Business Standard.
At entry, a special kiosk scans the passenger’s hand to match his or her ID. The boarding pass embedded with the Aadhaar number or a copy on a phone can be shown to authenticate the passenger with a show of his or her hand. At the frisking stage and boarding gate too, the passenger is identified by hand and provided with a paper stub with the flight details, that is produced at the aircraft door.
However, passengers without Aadhaar number can still choose to be identified by the existing paper procedures.
“Linking Aadhaar numbers to air ticket bookings is certainly an option but the ministry will not make it mandatory for booking air tickets; we cannot do it. We can ask airport operators and airlines to inform passengers about its benefits, but it cannot be enforced now, according to Supreme Court guidelines,” said a ministry official. Airline companies have asked the ministry to make Aadhaar compulsory for booking tickets.