KOLKATA: Work has started on installation of equipment that will lead to contactless travel through Kolkata airport with use of facial recognition software. The initiative also seeks to promote paperless and hassle-free air travel.
“Installation of equipment at various points in the terminal — kerbside kiosks, gates, check-in counters, pre-embarkation security checks and boarding points — is under way. The Covid situation last year led to the delay in arrival of some equipment. The project deadline, has, therefore been revised from this April to July. We are on track to meet it,” said airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee.
Once a passenger registers in the facial biometric-based air travel, or Digi Yatra, at the airport, s/he will not be needed to show a ticket or boarding pass, or even identity cards, at the checkpoints.
They will be identified by matching facial biometric at the security points and ticket validation will take place through integration with the airline system.
“There will be one-time verification at the departure airport while travelling for the first time using their Aadhaar number, PAN or any other ID approved by the government. After registration, facial recognition biometric will be captured and stored in the Digi Yatra ID. All details of the passenger will be securely recorded in a centralized database,” said a system engineer working on the Digi Yatra project at Kolkata airport.
At present, flyers have to show their identity card and boarding pass to the Central Industrial Security Force staff at the airport entry. During rush hour, there are long queues and flyers are required to reach the airport hours in advance given the lengthy check-in process. Once the new technology is introduced, passengers can save considerable time once they reach the airport.
Passengers will have to initially register themselves individually at all airports they usually travel through as data sharing between airport operators has not yet commenced.
Initially, passengers travelling on IndiGo and Vistara flights can avail of the facility. Gradually, other airlines will be brought on board, although SpiceJet has not agreed to join the Digi Yatra programme yet.
“Once the facility is ready, IndiGo and Vistara passengers can opt for seamless travel through Kolkata airport and register on Digi Yatra,” said Bhattacharjee.
As of now, eight flights of IndiGo and Vistara have been agreed on at Varanasi airport. Details for Kolkata will be shared in due course.