Bengaluru, Varanasi airports to start FRT for hassle-free boarding from Aug

Airfare shoots up

New Delhi: Air travellers may not require furnishing their boarding passes or showing their identity cards to board their respective flights. Come August, and they will get contactless and seamless entry to the airports using their biometric identity through high-tech scanners installed there under Digi Yatra project.

To begin with, the passengers boarding the planes from Bengaluru and Varanasi airports would be given access to the tech-based facility—Facial Recognition Technology (FRT)—to allow their entry at the airport. The facility is being introduced at the airports under the Digi Yatra project and it will be rolled out across all airports in phases.

The consultative committee on Digi Yatra project headed by Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiradiya M Scindia at its meeting held in New Delhi on Monday cleared the project and decided to launch the FRT facility at Bengaluru and Varanasi from next month. Five other airports namely Pune, Vijayawada, Kolkata, Delhi and Hyderabad would come under the Digi Yatra project by March next year.

Scindia said that Digi Yatra is a project conceived to achieve contactless, seamless processing of passengers at airports, based FRT. The project basically envisages that any traveller may pass through various check points at the airport through a paperless and contactless processing, using facial features to establish the identity which would be linked to the boarding pass.

Also Read: Bangalore airport introduces AI-backed robots to enhance travel experience

He said that the privacy issues have been taken care of in the system. It provides for decentralized mobile wallet-based identity management platform which is cost effective and addresses privacy/data protection issues in implementation of Digi Yatra. After approval of the revised Digi Yatra guidelines, an AIC (Aeronautical Information Circular) has been published by Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) on April 18 this year.

Digi Yatra Foundation (DYF) has been set up as a joint venture (JV) company in 2019 under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013 whose shareholders are Airport Authority of India (AAI) (26% shares) and Bangalore International Airport Limited.(BIAL), Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL), Mumbai International Airport Ltd  (MIAL) and Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL). These 5 shareholders equally hold the remaining 74% of the shares.

The foundation was formed, with the objective of creating the Digi Yatra Central Ecosystem (DYCE). Digi Yatra Foundation will be a pan-India entity and the custodian of the Passenger ID validation process. It will also develop consensus amongst the Aviation Stakeholders in India. It would also define the criteria for compliance and guidelines for the local airport systems.

The JV will conduct regular audits, of the various compliances and guidelines (including guidelines on security, image quality, data privacy) defined by the Digi Yatra guidelines for the local airport Biometric Boarding Systems (BBS).

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