Delhi, Bengaluru airports launch beta version of DigiYatra app for ‘seamless travel’

Airport authorities have said that a facial recognition system has been introduced for domestic passengers at the Delhi and Bengaluru airports for seamless and paperless travel.

Delhi International Airport Ltd and Bengaluru Kempegowda International Airport (BIAL) announced the soft launch of the Centre’s DigiYatra initiative, rolling out the beta version of the app for Android users on India’s 76th Independence Day on August 15.

“The facial recognition system will save passengers from the process of identity checks at multiple points and encourage them to travel paperless and also enhance the safety at the airport,” DIAL CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar said in a statement.

The service has been deployed for domestic passengers at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport’s terminal 3 (T3), from where AirAsia India, Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Vistara operate. At the Bengaluru airport, AirAsia India and Vistara will avail the facility.

“It is our constant endeavour at BIAL to offer innovative ways to simplify the passenger journey and make it as seamless as possible. The DigiYatra Central Ecosystem implementation is one more step towards achieving this,” BIAL managing director Hari Marar said.

DigiYatra is a biometric-enabled seamless travel experience based on facial recognition technology, says the government. It aims to eventually deliver a seamless, paperless, hassle-free experience to all passengers across all checkpoints at all Indian airports.

The app will automate passenger entry and verification at every touchpoint, including the airport entrance, security checkpoints, and boarding gates.

The software will establish a traveller’s identification based on facial traits and single token face biometrics, which will subsequently be connected to the boarding pass.

The DigiYatra app is available in beta for Android users and will be released for iOS within a few weeks.

Passengers participating in the DigiYatra programme must download the app, register, link their Aadhaar information, take a selfie, and enter information about their Covid-19 vaccination.

BIAL said the platform was secure. “Passengers need not worry about sharing their data as it is secure and will be deleted 24 hours following their travel,” it said in a press release.

DigiYatra is a project of the civil aviation ministry, and it has been in testing since 2017.

The DigiYatra Foundation will be the watchdog of the passenger ID validation process. It will also outline the local airport system’s rules and requirements for compliance. There will also be frequent audits to ensure compliance with guidelines, including security, image quality, and data protection.

DIAL said a passenger would need less than three seconds at each touchpoint.

“One of the quiet travel revolutions in the last year or so has been the full adoption of mobile boarding passes in India. Completely paperless, no more stamping for any purpose, no need to stop at counters or kiosks, and fully in line with global standards. Kudos to all involved!” Jet Airways CEO Sanjiv Kapoor tweeted.

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