These 6 Indian airports will soon use facial recognition for boarding passengers

Published on Aug 05, 2021 11:23 PM IST

Union minister of state for civil aviation VK Singh told Parliament that work has been awarded to implement the technology in these airports that include Bengaluru, Pune and Kolkata, among others.

VK Singh said in the next four to five years, AAI plans to invest 25,000 crore towards the expansion or development of existing and new airport terminals using modern technology. (HT File Photo)
VK Singh said in the next four to five years, AAI plans to invest 25,000 crore towards the expansion or development of existing and new airport terminals using modern technology. (HT File Photo)
Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

As many as six airports in India will soon use facial recognition technology for facilitating biometric boarding system, Union minister of state for civil aviation, VK Singh, told the Lok Sabha on Thursday. A trial project based on the technology is currently underway at these airports.

The civil aviation ministry had in August 2018 released a policy on ‘Digi Yatra’ that aims to offer a “contactless, seamless and paperless handling of passengers at airports from the entry gate of the terminal to the boarding point,” according to an official statement.

“Work has been awarded for implementation of Biometric Boarding System (BBS)…at six airports namely – Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Varanasi and Vijayawada,” Singh further told the House.

He added that following the completion of the trial project at the aforementioned airports, the system will be implemented across India at all airports in a “phased manner.”

The minister also informed Parliament that in the next four to five years, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) plans to invest nearly 25,000 crore towards the expansion or development of existing as well as new terminals of various airports using modern technology.

“Route rationalisation in the Indian airspace is being carried out in coordination with Indian Air Force, using modern air traffic flow management techniques to develop shorter flight routes and lower fuel consumption by airlines,” Singh said.

In a separate written reply, he pointed out that the Centre has received the Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) levy of 1,904 crore so far. A 5,000 crore levy is collected for each scheduled flight on certain routes to fund the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), Singh added.

“Till now…Viability Gap Funding (VGF) of an amount of 1,253 crore has been disbursed,” the minister noted.

While answering another question on whether the government is aware that several citizens whose travel plans got affected due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic are yet to receive a refund of credit shell amount from airlines, Singh agreed to problems faced by passengers.

"Due to COVID-19 pandemic situation and consequent lockdown, air passengers had faced problems of cancellation of flights and refunds for the tickets cancelled, '' he said.

When specifically asked about Air India, Singh said that the airline’s cumulative revenue dipped to 12,138.77 crore in 2020-21, while expenses shot up to 18,694.43 crore during the same period.

In another reply, the minister said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) hasn’t prescribed guidelines specifying life for an aircraft to fly in India. Highlighting that there isn’t any term as “old aircraft” specified by DGCA, he added that aircraft are deemed as “airworthy” based on their maintenance according to the “approved schedule laid down by the manufacturer.”

Singh further stated that online ‘examination on demand’ is also being planned by DGCA for flying cadets in order to augment the number of licensed pilots in India.

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