The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) of Hyderabad has become the first airport in India to successfully implement an end-to-end E-boarding process, as a pilot project, spanning 3-months duration starting from April 2015.
Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has selected RGIA to pilot this project. RGIA in collaboration with Jet Airways implemented this process covering passengers flying on flights 9W 452 and 9W 2401. So far, more than 7000 passengers have used this service from RGI Airport.
The E-boarding project at RGIA has been recognized by International Air Transport Association (IATA) as being aligned to their “Fast Travel” vision and “Simplify the Business” initiative that allows for greater passenger choice through access to self-service options.
The unique passenger workflow designed for the E-boarding pilot not only provides an enhanced passenger experience but also ensures a high level of security. This automated process promises a better environment by going paperless; lesser manual interface and convenient journey for passengers at RGIA – all these at no additional cost to the passengers. Further, RGIA has gone the extra mile by ensuring that the E-Boarding facility implemented is an end-to-end process covering all key passenger touch points at the airport without compromising on any security aspect.
Expressing his delight at the success of the unique E-boarding facility at RGIA, SGK Kishore, CEO, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited, said, “E-boarding reduces human interface and takes a big leap towards automation, easing the movement of passengers through the airport and reducing the waiting time at various check points within the airport. This enhances our passenger’s experience and improves the overall operational efficiency of our airport. We are thankful to MoCA, BCAS and CISF for choosing RGIA for this unique E-boarding project.”
The E-boarding process is simple. Once a passenger has booked their flight ticket, they get an SMS from the airline 24 hours before the date of journey informing them about the E-boarding option. The passenger who is interested in availing the E-boarding facility does a web check-in and receives a Unique Mobile Pass and a QR Code on their registered mobile phone.
On the day of travel, the passenger arrives at the terminal and uses a special E-boarding Machine available at the entry gate of departure area. The passenger scans the QR Code in the machine and enters the Aadhaar Card No. followed by validating their biometric credentials by doing a fingerprint scan on the system (Ascertaining passenger’s genuineness is a highly secure and foolproof process, as once a passenger punches in his Aadhaar Card No., the system, which is integrated with the central government database, validates the passenger’s credibility in a fraction of seconds and makes a decision.)
After electronic verification, the passenger gets inside the terminal. Those with cabin baggage head directly for security check; others drop their check-in baggage at regular check-in counters.
The passenger proceeds to a dedicated security check lane called e-Gate. He scans the Mobile Pass/e-boarding Pass at the e-Gate and progress for formal security check by CISF. This process further saves time, as in absence of regular boarding pass and bag tags, stamping is not required on any document. Once the security check is cleared, the passenger can explore the retail opportunities at the airport.
At the time of boarding, the passenger gets the E-boarding Pass scanned for the last time and boards the flight! This last scan verifies that the passenger has successfully cleared the security check process and baggage screening.
From entry into the terminal, to boarding the aircraft, a passenger need to only use their e-boarding card. Movement through this channels ensures that the passenger’s movements are tracked electronically (with timestamp) and through dedicated HD CCTV cameras at each of these checkpoints. This enhances the security at the airport by adding an extra layer of technologically advanced tracking to the existing security apparatus.
The process of e-boarding is seamless and integrated with the passengers’ name list from the airline. This also makes it very easy to check whether the passenger is actually at the airport or not. Timings of the entry to the airport and the other touch points are recorded, which help RGIA to continuously enhance its operational efficiency. Since the entry through E-boarding is time bound and guided as per regulations, the E-Boarding Reader machine does not allow the passengers inside the terminal before the stipulated time, thus reducing congestion inside the airport.
With E-boarding, the Airline & Aadhaar Databases is integrated using scanning devices at various touch points. This greatly enhances the security levels and at the same time reduces the passenger processing time. Now, a passenger need to only have a mobile e-boarding card and his Aadhaar number to gain entry into the airport. A unique feature of this process is ability to also use the boarding card issued by CUSS machine or Check-in counters also. Further, there is a flexibility to follow the traditional process of showing a photo-id in case Aadhaar number is not available.
Taking cue from Hyderabad Airport’s successful implementation of the pilot project, Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi Airports have also initiated E-boarding pilot using scanners and E-gates. Teams from Bangalore and Delhi Airport, recently, visited Hyderabad Airport to witness E-boarding process and are known to have adopted several technical and process related aspects in their E-boarding systems. All these initiatives are paving the way for a tech-savvy, paper-less future for Indian aviation. (INN)