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Soon, you may enter airports without ID, check in with Aadhaar

Govt has asked Wipro to look at building integrated platform for Aadhaar to improve check-in process

Arindam Majumder  |  New Delhi 

money exchange at airport
money exchange at airport

The civil aviation ministry, which has for long toyed with the idea of a biometric identification system at airports, is close to rolling it out. Similar to marquee such as Schiphol (Amsterdam), Brisbane and Hamad (Doha), travellers could soon enter Indian without flashing their identity cards and clear the process through fingerprint and iris scan.
To make this happen, the ministry has asked software giant Wipro to study the prospect of building an integrated platform that will use a passenger’s Aadhaar-based biometric information for the process across all The idea, officials said, was to cut down the time a passenger spends in airport queues. 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 can use the database to enable the biometric entry facility across Indian airports,” Authority of India (AAI) Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told Business Standard.
The decision was taken after Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha’s meeting with operators of all privately owned such as New Delhi and Mumbai.
Wipro is likely to give a feasibility report within a month, it is learnt.
Senior ministry officials said, as part of the process, numbers could be made mandatory for passengers to book flight tickets.
“Linking 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 compulsory for booking tickets.
With such a database, kiosks could be built at separate points at an airport, including boarding gates, through which a passenger could just walk in without any manual inspection, another official pointed out.
Preparations are already in progress. “We are planning to have a pilot project on Aadhaar-enabled entry at some of our gates,” said Rajiv Jain, chief executive officer, Mumbai International Airport Limited.
AAI, through a partnership with Boston Consulting Group, is studying the time required for the process at some busy airports, including Chennai, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar and Goa.
Amber Dubey, India head for aerospace & defence at KPMG, said biometrics would make passenger verification and handling faster and more secure. “In the next 12-18 months, the top 25 should try to become paperless with the help of biometrics. at the time of booking will prevent identity frauds,” he said.
IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways and GoAir did not respond to queries. But some airline executives who did not wish to be named confirmed that the airline lobby, Federation of Indian Airlines, had supported such a move. “We have to make some form of concrete identification mandatory for passengers. At present, seems to be the most acceptable,’’ the executive said.