Airports across the world are among some of the most fiercely guarded places. It is the same case in India. Though not as advanced as some of the other airports of the world, the security here is nonetheless quite comprehensive.
As a part of security measures, travelers are expected to carry a photo ID with them while entering the airport premises. This is not always an ideal security measure as IDs can be faked or lost. Regrettably. some people’s faces rarely match the photos on their IDs
Many-a-people have missed their flights due to ID mismatch and lost IDs. Also, this basic security measure is as effective as the person who’s doing the actual checking. Sometimes, there’s just a cursory glance at the ID before the person is let in.
There is a need for something substantial, something which is difficult to fool and has a proven track record.
Currently, biometrics is one of the more secure means of verifying identity with some degree of accuracy. Despite the controversies and being much-maligned, Aadhaar has the most comprehensive biometric database of the Indian population.
Also, it has made great strides in implementing them across various everyday uses. The most easily relatable example of this is Jio. Aadhaar registration is mandatory for buying a Jio SIM card. Many of us have gone through the buying process where we’ve had to submit our biometric credentials in the form of our fingerprints.
So, it makes complete sense that Aadhaar’s biometric database be used at Airports across the country. This has even been successfully tried out on a small scale at some entry points of Hyderabad and Bengaluru Airports. The Civil Aviation Ministry has already initiated the process of linking passengers’ IDs like Aadhaar and passport numbers with airlines and airports databases.
But How Will It Work?
Once the process is complete, all it will take is your smartphone for boarding domestic flights throughout the country. Passengers will be able to verify their identity, at entry points without showing any sort of photo ID.
The data will be so linked that passengers need not even carry a ticket or an e-ticket. All the details of a passenger’s flight will be linked to their Aadhaar and consequently to the airports and airlines databases.
“Wipro has been told to study whether such an integrated, e-enabled platform can be developed so that all airports can use the database to enable the biometric entry facility across Indian airports,” Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told Business Standard.
- Special booths set up at entry points will scan passenger’s fingerprints to match their ID to Aadhaar.
- The boarding pass will be embedded with the Aadhaar number or a copy of the same can be shown on the passenger’s smartphone.
- At the frisking stage, the biometrics will be scanned again and the passenger will be given a paper stub with flight details, which will have to be produced at the aircraft door.
However, those rare passengers without an Aadhaar number will still be able to proceed ahead by the existing photo ID procedures. Foreign nationals will need to show their passports for gaining
It Sounds Futuristic And Exciting
While, it does sound futuristic, UIDAI still has a long way to go before being completely accepted by people. And there are documented cases of fake Aadhaar rackets being busted on a regular basis.
“Linking Aadhaar numbers to air ticket bookings is certainly an option but the ministry will not make it mandatory for booking air tickets; we cannot do it. We can ask airport operators and airlines to inform passengers about its benefits, but it cannot be enforced now, according to Supreme Court guidelines,” said a ministry official.
These are but just the first steps in implementing a central biometric ID database in daily life to make it simpler. The key issue here is total security and acceptance. If the former is achieved, the latter will follow.