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Digi Yatra likely to be rolled at 14 more airports in April

Digi Yatra is likely to be rolled out at 14 more airports by the end of this month and efforts are on to make the facility more user friendly with certain changes in the architecture, according to a top executive.

The Digi Yatra facility allows passengers to link their travel and identity documents together and create a facial scan beforehand.

Based on Facial Recognition Technology (FRT), Digi Yatra provides for contactless, seamless movement of passengers at various check points at airports and currently, there are nearly 5 million users.

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The facility is now there at 14 airports for domestic passengers and discussions are ongoing with various stakeholders concerned to make it available for international travellers as well.

Digi Yatra Foundation CEO Suresh Khadakbhavi told PTI that Digi Yatra is expected to be available at 14 more airports by the end of April.

A not-for-profit entity, the foundation is the nodal agency for Digi Yatra, which was introduced in December 2022.

The 14 new airports where the facility is to be rolled out soon are Bagdogra, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Dabolim, Indore, Mangalore, Patna, Raipur, Ranchi, Srinagar, Trivandrum and Vishakhapatnam.

While Digi Yatra is slowly gaining traction, there have been concerns expressed in various quarters about privacy of data of the passengers.

Seeking to assuage the concerns, Khadakbhavi said Digi Yatra does not have any passengers’ data.

“It is only in the phone (of the user) that the data is residing and it is in the control of the passenger himself or herself,” he told PTI in an interview.

The data shared by a passenger for Digi Yatra is stored in an encrypted format. For availing the service, a passenger has to register his or her details on the Digi Yatra app using Aadhaar-based validation and a self image capture. In the next step, the boarding pass has to be scanned and the credentials are shared with the airport.

At the airport e-gate, the passenger has to first scan the bar-coded boarding pass and the facial recognition system installed at the e-gate will validate the passenger’s identity and travel document. Once this process is done, the passenger can enter the airport through the e-gate.

The passenger will have to follow the normal procedure to clear the security and board the aircraft.

Personnel at the airports have been directed to enrol passengers only with their informed consent.

Khadakbhavi said work is going to ensure a more user-friendly experience for Digi Yatra users and changes are being looked at in the overall architecture. On making the facility available for international travel, he said discussions are going on with the external affairs ministry and other agencies.

The shareholders of the foundation are Airport Authority of India (AAI), Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (HIAL) and Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL).

India is one of the fastest-growing civil aviation markets in the world and domestic air traffic is on the rise. In 2023, there were more than 15.2 crore domestic air passengers.

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