Wipro exploring Aadhaar based biometric identification for check-in at airports

Civil aviation ministry has asked software firm Wipro to look into the feasibility of introducing Aadhaar based biometric identification at airports.

Looks like Aadhaar is set to make a grand entry in yet another aspect of our daily lives. This time at your local domestic airport. According to a report in Business Standard, the civil aviation ministry has asked software firm Wipro to look into the feasibility of introducing Aadhaar-based biometric identification at airports. The idea is to enable less queues at the airport and let customers check-in faster with fingerprint or iris scanning.

International airports such as Schiphol (Amsterdam), Brisbane and Hamad (Doha) already have these systems in place. Wipro has been asked to build an integrated platform which will use the passenger's Aadhaar-based biometric information for check-in process across all airports. Hyderabad Airport has already started this process on a few gates, where you have to check-in using your biometric information.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha, met with the operators of airports including private ones such as Mumbai and New Delhi and took this decision. Wipro is expected to give a feasibility report within a month, according to Business Standard.

According to senior ministry officials, this could be a first step in making Aadhaar card numbers mandatory for a passenger to book a flight ticket.

“Linking Aadhaar numbers to air ticket bookings is certainly an option the ministry is considering but nothing has been finalised. We are evaluating what other process of check-in we can use,” said a ministry official. According to the report, airline companies are already on board and have asked the ministry to make Aadhaar compulsory for booking tickets.

The plan is to use this database which is linked to Aadhaar and have multiple kiosks at separate points of the airport, including at boarding gates, which will enable a passenger to just pass through without any manual inspection.

According to Rajiv Jain, CEO of Mumbai International Airport Limited, there are plans to have the pilot project on Aadhaar enabled entry at some gates at the Mumbai airport.

According to airline executives, the Federation of Indian Airlines, an airline lobby, has given its go ahead to the project and believes that a concrete identification is mandatory for a passenger and in the current scenario Aadhaar fits that bill.

There is no exact time-frame as to when this will become a norm at the airports. For the time being, Wipro is only expected to do a feasibility study and submit the report in a month's time. Alternatively, Airports Authority of India (AAI) has also partnered with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to study the time required for the check-in process at some busy airports such as Chennai, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar and Goa.

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