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India’s Digi Yatra App Crosses 1 Million Installations

This week, the Digi Yatra application has been installed by over one million passengers on their mobile phones, since its launch in 2022. DigiYatra, a joint initiative of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) and the Digi Yatra Foundation, offers a biometric-enabled seamless travel (BEST) experience through the implementation of a facial recognition system (FRS). It aims to eliminate manual verification and enable the contactless identification of passengers at checkpoints such as airport entry, security checks, and boarding gates.

The government has said that in the Digi Yatra process, there is no central storage of passengers’ personally identifiable information (PII) data. All the passengers’ data is encrypted and stored in the wallet of the passengers’ smartphone and shared only for a limited time with the airport of travel origin where the passenger’s Digi Yatra ID needs to be validated. The data is purged from the system within 24 hours of the flight. The data is shared by passengers directly, only when they travel. The data cannot be used by any other entity since it is encrypted and cannot be shared with any stakeholders.

The Digi Yatra application has achieved a substantial installation base with approximately 866,000 installations on Android devices and 154,000 installations on iOS devices. The app has received a 4.1 rating.

As of 20 June, Delhi Airport had a total of 648,359 Digi Yatra passengers (DY PAX), with an average adoption rate of 19% over the last 7 days. Bengaluru had 503,802 passengers, with a 14.30% adoption rate. Varanasi Airport recorded a significant Digi Yatra adoption rate of 76.40%, with 225,847 passengers using the app. Vijayawada recorded 46,668 passengers, with a 62.20% adoption rate. Kolkata saw an adoption rate of 18.70% with 180,361 passengers. Pune Airport reported 104,133 passengers with a 23.20% adoption rate. Hyderabad had an adoption rate of 4.70%, with 37,133 passengers using Digi Yatra. In total, the number of Digi Yatra passengers across all airports amounts to 1,746,303.

In December 2022, the Digi Yatra initiative was initially introduced at three airports: New Delhi, Bengaluru, and Varanasi. Subsequently, in April this year, the programme expanded to include Vijayawada, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Pune.

After users download the application, they must register with their phone number. Then, they must link their identity credentials using DigiLocker, which is a secure document access platform on a public cloud, or Offline Aadhaar, which is the government’s digital identity card. After uploading the information, users must take a selfie when prompted and upload it onto the app. Finally, users will have to update their boarding pass data and share it with the departure airport.

Airports around the world are undergoing a digital transformation to enhance operational efficiency, improve passenger experience, and optimise overall airport management. This digital revolution involves the integration of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), biometrics, and automation into various airport processes. For instance, this year, Vietnam announced it would issue passports with an e-chip attached to the back cover. It stores encrypted information including the passenger’s name, date of birth, nationality, and biometric information like fingerprint and face scans and blood type.

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