DigiYatra: A paperless journey experience for domestic air travellers

DigiYatra: A paperless journey
DigiYatra: A paperless journey experience for domestic air travellers

With DigiYatra, passengers will no longer need to show their tickets/boarding passes and their physical identity cards at many of the check points at the airport

An exclusive interview conducted on DigiYatra by Santosh Vaswani, Content Writer & Editor at CIO News with Roshan Popli, CIO at Airports Authority of India.

When asked about the role of DigiYatra platform in airports and in which Indian airports the platform will go live, Roshan Popli, CIO at Airports Authority of India, in an exclusive interview with CIO News, said, considering the growth projections in the aviation industry and its direct impact on the passenger journey, the cost of Infrastructure and the impact on the speed and efficiency of passenger processes, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has taken up a key initiative to reimagine air travel in India looking beyond the conventional “build a bigger Airport to manage more Passengers” to look for innovation and technology for better and cost-effective solutions. One of the key initiatives in this direction is the “DigiYatra”.

DigiYatra intends to give a seamless, hassle-free and paperless journey experience to every domestic air traveller in India. Using cutting edge Identity Management and “Face recognition” technologies, it aims to simplify the passenger processes at various check points in the airport right from the terminal entry gate, check-in/ bag drop, security check and boarding gates.

To start with, AAI will roll out the solution at four Airports namely Varanasi, Kolkata, Pune and Vijayawada in multiple phases.

Commenting on the role of cloud technology in DigiYatra platform, he said, the overall solution is the combination of edge computing as well as cloud computing.

Scalability, elasticity, security and high availability are key requirements for the DigiYatra solution and hence the cloud platform is being used as the backbone of the overall solution. The passenger data pre-fetched from airline DCS will be centrally stored on the cloud. The cloud will also act a primary DC and DR for the solution.

Biometric matching is better suited the edge computing devices (e-Gates at entry, SHA and boarding gates) because of faster response time and hence such functionalities would be hosted on the edge devices.

When asked about enhancing better customer experience on airports with DigiYatra going live on cloud technology, Popli said, DigiYatra will enhance the overall passenger experience at the airports by providing smooth and paperless journey with enhanced security and reduced processing time.

With DigiYatra, passengers will no longer need to show their tickets/boarding passes and their physical identity cards at many of the check points at the airport. This will lead to reduced waiting time in queues, faster processing times and simpler processes along with enhanced security.

Automatic Passenger Verification and validation at touch-points will reduce manual intervention. This is critical in post COVID era.

Better security based on passengers’ facial biometrics and online validation of tickets/boarding passes with airlines DCS.

Speaking about the changes that air travellers could expect in the process starting from booking their flights to boarding the flights, he said, as per the current process, passengers have to show their tickets/boarding passes and their physical Identity cards at many of the check points (i.e. entry, CUSS, SHA and Boarding) at the Airport. This consumes significant time of both the passengers as well as the CISF/airlines staff. Further, there is a chance of human error which may result in compromise with respect to security.

The new process being implemented is complete digital and will provide passengers an easy and effortless air travel experience. The processes at each of the touch-point will be managed digitally to facilitate smooth and efficient passenger experience without compromising security.

For experiencing the digital boarding process, the passenger will have to complete one-time registration on the platform or can avail a “Day of Travel” facility. Once registered, the facial biometric of the passenger will become their identity for passenger processing at various touch-points across the airport.

Popli further highlighted that the DigiYatra Policy is available in public domain. Anybody can go and read the policy if interested. The implementation of DigiYatra has to comply with this policy.

The Biometric Boarding Systems around the world are specific to an airline and in some cases the roll out is by Airport operator, whereas, in India, the Government has taken an initiative for a uniform implementation across the airports. So, in India the project is driven by airport operators based on a Government policy and the benefit will be available for all airlines.

DigiYatra program will have two key components: A centralized system for common one-time registration and identity verification and a Biometric Boarding System (BBS) at the individual airport level. Respective airport operators are in various phases of implementing the BBS for their airports.

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