DGCA alters the Digi-Yatra program; enables self-registration for touchless travel

In wake of the pandemic, the government has altered the process to register for Digi-Yatra (DY) program that will eventually allow paperless air travel for passengers. Under the new process, people can enrol by digitally validating a government-issued I card like Aadhaar or a driving licence.

“Passengers can create a DY credential with identity data, travel data and if needed even health data. All these data points are tagged to the single token face biometric of the passenger,” says a notification on “implementation of e-boarding process (DY)” issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on April 18, 2022.

Manual processes that exist today for check-in shall remain even after the much-delayed DY gets implemented, which has been delayed by the pandemic. DY will be available to both Indian and foreign travellers.

DGCA alters the Digi-Yatra program; enables self-registration for touchless travel

“The DY credentials would be created using self-service mode by the passenger with a government of India identity that is possible to be validated digitally. Right now, Aadhaar and a driving licence are options available. Others like passport e-passport will be subsequently added in the future,” it says.

In case there is an issue with this self-registration, the originally pre-pandemic time envisaged procedure of registering for the first time at airport registration kiosks will remain available.

In such cases “a one-time ID check and face biometric capture will be done at airport registration kiosk by the passenger at a DY-enabled departing airport. In the authentication process, passenger’s ID will be verified and validated by an authorised security officer (of CISF) and activate DY credentials.”

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has to video Aeronautical Information Circular 9 of 2022 modified the E-Boarding Process (Digi Yatra)

The DY credentials will be encrypted and stored in a secure Walter on the passenger’s smartphone. The data will not be centrally stored to minimise the risk of theft or loss.

“DY credentials are shared only when travel happens and shared with passengers’ consent (by him/her) with… airlines, airports and regulatory agencies if needed,” the DGCA order says.

Such data will be shared 24 hours before flight departure time and retained for 24 hours after the same, following which it will be purged from the system. Airports, airlines and their travel agents will be responsible for complying with these requirements.

It applies to all scheduled airlines and airports in India to enable inter alia, passengers to enrol into the Digi Yatra ecosystem

Airlines will be required to make a provision for creating and receiving DY credentials of passengers when they book tickets through any platform “for domestic travel and in future for international travel… this implementation will be done in a phased manner.”

Airlines will share passenger data with the DY biometric boarding system of airport operators at least six hours before flight departure time on a secure line for ticket and ID validation.