The government has asked information technology major Wipro to develop a blueprint for enabling Aadhaar-based biometric access for flyers at all airports across India.
Wipro is expected to give the report by early May and then airports will begin the process where a passenger's thumb is all the identification required to fly on domestic routes, though international fliers will of course need passports.
The aviation ministry had been mulling the idea of linking Aadhar numbers to air travel bookings and then enabling biometric access at airports. The push for a concrete step in this direction came at a recent meeting of various airport operators and airlines with aviation minister Jayant Sinha and aviation secretary R N Choubey.
"It was felt a joint system should be developed that can be replicated at all airports. Wipro has been asked to develop a concept note in this regard after consulting all stakeholders, including the JV airport operators. We are seeing what airport processes can be made e-enabled," Airports Authority of India (AAI) chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told The Times of India.
The idea, the AAI chief said, is that passengers can give their Aadhar numbers at the time of booking tickets. "Once they reach the airport they are flying out of, flyers can just place their thumb on a touch pad at entry point. Once inside, a similar process can be repeated at other places like check-in. We want passengers to have as seamless and effortless travel experience at airports as possible," Mohapatra said.
On security grounds, flyers in India have to show an ID card along with their tickets to be allowed inside airport terminals.