New Delhi: Travellers will soon be able to enter airplane terminals in the nation with facial recognition biometric under the administration's Digi Yatra Program. Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu stated that the initiative would be "forward-looking and cutting edge" and would be operational by end of February 2019.

The facial recognition biometric facility would be discretionary for air travellers. Digi Yatra initiative looks to advance paperless and hassle-free air travel. It’s a biometric-based digital processing system for passenger entry and related prerequisites at the air terminal. He also said it would be voluntary for passengers on whether to opt for facial recognition biometric for air travel.

Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports would be launching the Digi Yatra initiative on pilot basis by the same time. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) plans to roll out the initiative at Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune and Vijayawada airports by April next year, as per the ministry.

Under Digi Yatra, there would be a centralised registration system for passengers and every one of them would get an exceptional ID. The ID would be shared by travellers at the time of booking tickets. The ID can be made by sharing one's name, email ID, mobile number and details of any identity proof, including Aadhaar. Before travel, the airline would share the traveller's information and the ID to the air terminal from where the traveller would fly out. After successful verification, facial recognition biometric would be captured and stored in the Digi Yatra ID.