DigiYatra: These airports in India now have facial recognition technology. How does it work?

Starting Thursday, the government Introduced a paperless portal Make air travel hassle-free at selected airports. Under the initiative, the airport will use facial recognition software called “DigiYatra” for entry. This means that passengers do not need to carry ID cards and boarding passes.

In the first phase, the program will be launched at seven airports, starting with three airports – Delhi, Bengaluru and Varanasi, and then four airports, namely Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune by March 2023 and Vijayawada. Subsequently, the technology will be implemented across the country.

Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), operated by GMR, announced in August the soft launch of the center’s DigiYatra program with a beta application for the Android platform. Delhi Airport has the required infrastructure in place at the airport’s Terminal 3 and other airports are in the process of setting up the required infrastructure for it.

What is DigiYatra and how does it work?

DigiYatra envisions travelers passing through various checkpoints at the airport through paperless and contactless processing, using facial features to identify them, which will be linked to boarding passes. With this technology, the entry of passengers will be automatically processed based on facial recognition systems at all checkpoints – including entry into airports, security check areas, aircraft boarding, etc.

Which airports/airlines offer facial recognition technology?

The facility will be available to passengers on domestic flights at Delhi Terminal 3, Bengaluru and Varanasi airports. By next March, DigiYatra will be launched at four more airports – Hyderabad, Pune, Vijawada and Kolkata. After that, DigiYatra will be quickly rolled out across all other airports.

Among the airlines, passengers traveling on the domestic networks of Air India, Vistara and IndiGo can use the facility at all three airports. SpiceJet, GoFirst and Akasa Air do not yet offer DigiYatra facilities.

How do people utilize the DigiYatra facility?

In order to use the service, passengers must register their details on the DigiYatra app using Aadhaar-based verification and self-image capture. Next, the boarding pass must be scanned and the credentials shared with airport authorities.

At the airport’s electronic boarding gate, passengers must first scan the barcode boarding pass, and the facial recognition system installed at the electronic boarding gate will verify the passenger’s identity and travel documents. Once the process is complete, passengers can enter the airport through electronic gates.

Passengers must go through the security check and board the plane according to normal procedures.

Facial recognition technology is beneficial as it makes flying more convenient and reduces congestion at airports. Facial recognition systems at several airports around the world, including Dubai, Singapore, Atlanta and Narita (Japan), have helped improve efficiency.

How is DigiYatra implemented?

The project is being implemented by DigiYatra Foundation – a joint venture company whose shareholders are the Airports Authority of India (26% stake) and the airports of Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Cochin International. These five shareholders own an average of the remaining 74%.

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