Govt asks airport operators to explore biometric models for smooth travel

Passengers queue to check in for a flight on Singapore Airlines at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg (Photo: Reuters)

Currently, Digi Yatra is available for domestic passengers at 13 airports, including Delhi, Mumbai and Varanasi. (Representative)

The civil aviation ministry, which is taking measures to prevent congestion at airport in the upcoming festive season, has asked airport operators to look at the successful biometric models being used in other countries for smooth travel of air passengers.

During a meeting with an advisory group, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia asked airport operators to promote Digi Yatra, which provides for contactless, seamless movement of passengers at various check points at airports based on Facial Recognition Technology (FRT).

Currently, Digi Yatra is available for domestic passengers at 13 airports, including Delhi, Mumbai and Varanasi.

At the meeting on Tuesday, the airport operators were also tasked with presenting biometric enabled models being successfully used in other countries, according to an official release.

On December 15, Scindia said the Digi Yatra facility will be available at 25 more airports in 2024.

The release said that a suggestion at the meeting was to integrate Digi Yatra’ for international passenger access for departures as well as arrivals.

“With the upcoming season in mind, the minister emphasised on the importance of preventing congestion at airports. He assured that the ministry is proactively implementing all possible measures to facilitate a smooth and time-saving travel experience for passengers during this period,” the release issued by the ministry said on Wednesday.

To tackle congestion at airports amid rising passenger traffic, Scindia, on December 15, said manpower, X-ray machines, departure entry gates, check-in and immigration counters have been increased at airports.

In December last year, there was heavy congestion at various airports, including Delhi, following which the ministry took various measures to address the problem.

On Tuesday, Scindia also chaired cargo advisory committee meeting and assured that the government will continue to adopt a proactive approach in responding to the concerns of the cargo industry.

Another official release said that one of the key issues discussed was the need for a digital transformation in air cargo, encompassing e-KYC and digital shipping invoices.

The minister requested the committee to prepare a detailed action plan in order to explore and implement digital transformations in the industry, it added.

First Published: Dec 20 2023 | 11:26 PM IST

The civil aviation ministry in India has urged airport operators to consider implementing successful biometric models used in other countries to ensure smooth travel for air passengers and prevent congestion at airports during the upcoming festive season. The ministry specifically highlighted Digi Yatra, a contactless and seamless movement system based on Facial Recognition Technology (FRT), which is currently available for domestic passengers at 13 airports in India. The airport operators were also instructed to present biometric-enabled models from other countries during a meeting with civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. The ministry aims to expand the Digi Yatra facility to 25 more airports by 2024 and is considering integrating it for international passenger access as well. The government is actively implementing measures to facilitate a hassle-free travel experience for passengers during the busy season. To address congestion at airports, manpower and infrastructure at various checkpoints have been increased. In addition, Scindia chaired a cargo advisory committee meeting where the need for digital transformation in the air cargo industry was discussed, including the adoption of e-KYC and digital shipping invoices. The committee was requested to prepare an action plan for implementing digital transformations in the industry.

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