The government is embarking on a digital mission, named DigiYatra, with the aim of transforming India’s civil aviation industry by getting all stakeholders — airlines, airport operators, security and immigration agencies, cab operators, retail establishment and others — on one digital platform.
At the heart of this digitisation effort lies Aadhaar, the citizen identity number that over 1.13 billion people hold in India. The government has already linked a host of subsidies to Aadhaar and plans to do so with phone and banking services and filing of income taxes, to name a few.
A press statement made it clear that linking Aadhaar to ticket bookings and check-in will be optional.
Airports in Hyderbad and Bengaluru are ready for Aadhaar-enabled access, while Baroda and Vijaywada will follow suit, the Mint newspaper had reported in May.
In a presentation by Wipro Digital for the aviation ministry, a wider use of Aadhaar was detailed out in an effort towards what is being billed as paperless travel with airport access through smart gates, self check-in, and boarding
In a presentation by Wipro Digital for the aviation ministry, which was shared with reporters on Thursday, a wider use of Aadhaar was detailed out in an effort towards what is being billed as paperless travel with airport access through smart gates, self check-in, and boarding.
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The suggestions will be placed before an aviation ministry technical committee, which will make its recommendations within 30 days, after comments from the public are sought for another 30 days, before being “translated into a time-bound action plan,” the ministry said in a statement.
The suggestions will be placed before an aviation ministry technical committee, which will make its recommendations within 30 days, after comments from the public are sought for another 30 days
Among those surveyed before making suggestions in the presentation were: 10 frequent flier and four non-frequent flier passengers; the SpiceJet airline; airport managers at Chennai, Nagpur, Mumbai, and Bengaluru; security officials at Chennai and Nagpur airports; ecosystem players Uber, Paytm and think tank iSpirt; and Aadhaar experts in Wipro.
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These are the suggestions: For example, a one-time linking of the Aadhaar number to airlines and ecosystem players such as travel agents using Blockchain technology. All transactions before and after the flight could be done by Aadhaar-based biometric validation. Cabs and airport transit can be can be booked while booking the flight and linked to Aadhaar for validation.
At the airport, the presentation suggested, airlines should be linked with Aadhaar to check passenger identity, along with flight information through biometrics. That would inform the airlines and would allow the passenger to check-in automatically. The idea is to direct the Aadhaar powered passenger from an automated check-in counter to a dedicated baggage drop zone.
Baggage could be tagged with RFID or NFC tags.
The government is also considering a single-point Aadhaar-based immigration check points for Indian residents and biometric enabled updates to immigration records.
For context, the civil aviation ministry had laid down the new civil aviation policy in 2016, where it had projected the number of domestic air passengers to grow to Rs 50 crore annually by 2022 from seven crore in 2015, making it the third largest aviation industry in the world.
The government is also considering a single-point Aadhaar-based immigration check points for Indian residents and biometric enabled updates to immigration records
That would be possible in three ways: “Harmonised growth of aviation sub-sectors, simplification of processes via technology, de-regulation and e-governance.”
On an average, from finding the right flight to taking the fight to end the journey and take a cab, is a 18-step process, and the government hopes to reduce manual intervention in these passenger engagements. DigiYatra envisages providing travellers “a ‘digitally unified flying experience’ across all stages of their journey,” Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said in a statement.
Sinha tweeted, “#DigiYatra: Connected Passengers, Connected Airports, Connected Flying, Connected Systems,” as the future of aviation industry in India.
Sinha also tweeted that the he has asked various stakeholders to submit their recommendations in the next 30 days. If that goes through, Aadhaar will have a large presence in Indian aviation.
In a press statement by the aviation ministry said passengers will “optionally link their Aadhaar to airlines and other ecosystem players at the time of booking for faster airport entry and automated check-ins without requiring any paper-based interventions, walk-through security scanners swiftly owing to advanced biometric security solutions.”
The Wipro Digital presentation (without the last page, which had the presenters contact details) can be accessed here.
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Lead visual: Nikhil Raj
Updated at 10.34pm on June 8, 2017: It was erroneously written that this story is from IANS.
Updated at 12.50pm on June 9, 2017: Added a link to the Wipro Digital presentation at the end of the story.
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