The government on Thursday announced the “Digi Yatra” initiative, which will help travellers enter airports using their biometric information. The mechanism will be voluntary and will come into force by February 2019, PTI reported, quoting the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Using the Digi Yatra platform, passengers will be able to opt for facial recognition for air travel, said Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu. He called the initiative “forward-looking and futuristic”, and said it would promote paperless and hassle-free air travel.

The system will use the biometrics of travellers to facilitate their entry into airports, and for other air travel-related security procedures. “Many times people keep complaining that there are so many boarding passes to be stamped – this will eliminate that process,” Prabhu said. “[For] those who choose this, the only way they will be identified at airports will be using facial recognition and biometric capturing.”

Prabhu said that Digi Yatra will make travel passenger-friendly and enhance security. He called it an “efficient and technologically advanced” system, based on a tried-and-tested model. Over time, features such as food and reading preferences of passengers can be added to the system, he said.

All airlines, airports and civil aviation security agencies are on board, he said.

“Often they say in India, we don’t take people at face value. This scheme will literally take people at face value,” Prabhu added.