Airports push for Aadhaar-enabled entry: System rolled out for Bengaluru, Hyderabad

To make passenger entry easier and elevate the level of security at airports across India, the civil aviation ministry is close to rolling out Aadhar-enabled entry in all the airports across the country. Presently, passengers show their printed or mobile air tickets coupled with their government-approved identity card to enter an airport.

According to reports, Bengaluru airport, owned by the Fairfax and GVK group, and Hyderabad airport, which have already exceeded the capacity they were built for, are using Aadhaar-based entry in coordination with airlines through a process called e-boarding. Manual procedure is being used as backup by both the airports. According to a report in Livemint, at the Hyderabad airport, most domestic flights use e-boarding, with at least 150 airlines using the technology.

 Airports push for Aadhaar-enabled entry: System rolled out for Bengaluru, Hyderabad

A file photo of Bengaluru International airport. Reuters

Speaking to Livemint, a spokesperson from the Hyderabad airport said that e-boarding has substantially improved passenger throughput. "E-boarding has improved the passenger throughput outcome at the boarding gates by 30 percent and performance of the security frisking area by 20 percent."

The Centre wants Indian airports similar to the marquee airports such as Schiphol (Amsterdam), Brisbane and Hamad (Doha), where travellers can enter without flashing their identity cards and clear the check-in process through fingerprint and iris scan.

Reports have described the process as "seamless." According to reports, "the passenger comes pre-checked in with either the paper-printed boarding pass or e-mobile pass. At the Aadhaar boarding kiosk, he/she scans the boarding pass. If the Aadhaar is already entered at the time of booking, the passenger waves hand to complete the authentication / registration process. If the number is not entered, it could be done manually before the hand is waved."

In case the Aadhaar is not available, the passenger says that and waves his/her hand. The alternate identity card is then shown to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) staff.

Apart from Bengaluru and Hyderabad, Airports Authority of India's Baroda and Vijayawada airports are soon likely to use this technology. The civil aviation ministry has asked Wipro to build a platform which will use passenger's Aadhar information for checking-in at all airports. Officials said that the idea is cut down on the time passengers spend standing in queues.

Data from International Air Transport Association (IATA), released in April 2017, showed that India jumped four spots in as many years in global air traffic rankings. "India has #4 ranking with 131 million departures in 2016 and with stellar growth of 20.0% yoy (year on year), continues to close in fast on Japan," IATA said in a statement. According to a report in Mint, Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Goa, Lucknow and Kozhikode are among the worst-hit airports with India’s air traffic touching nearly 100 million air passengers in 2016, growing in double digits.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, sources in the ministry said that efforts are on to increase the use of Aadhaar in the aviation sector but there is no plan make the identification document mandatory for fliers. Earlier reports had suggested that the aviation ministry was planning to make Aadhaar or passport number mandatory for domestic travel in the next two to three months.

But officials added that government will instead ask airlines to promote the use of Aadhaar by fliers while purchasing tickets and encourage travellers to link their flight tickets to their Aadhaar cards for a seamless experience.

As part of efforts to make flight travel paperless, a pilot is being implemented at the Mumbai and Hyderabad airports, where passengers who have already linked their tickets to their Aadhaar do not require boarding passes to enter the plan.

A civil aviation ministry official reportedly said, "Linking Aadhaar 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." Airline companies have also asked the ministry to make Aadhaar compulsory for booking tickets.

Updated Date: May 04, 2017 14:34:52 IST