Unique ID like PAN or Aadhaar to be made mandatory for flight booking

New Delhi: In the next three to four months air travellers in the country will have to mandatorily provide a unique identification (UID) like an Aadhaar card, passport or PAN at the time of booking tickets.

The government has constituted a technical committee that will prepare a white paper on this proposal in 30 days, said Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha at a press briefing. “There are various ways of securing that unique identification. Clearly, the best way of doing it is by using Aadhaar and other ways are by using a passport or PAN card,” said Sinha.

As an “incentive”, passengers will be able to avail a paperless and seamless travel experience. Once a passengers book their tickets, the unique ID, along with PNR, will provide all their information and will also serve as a digital boarding pass, explained Sinha.

Those who provide biometric identification through Aadhaar will have to do an iris or finger scan at the airport, while those who share other forms of ID will be provided a QR code on their mobile phones which can then be scanned at the airport.

However, passengers who wish to collect their boarding passes and skip the digital system will still have the option to do so but won’t enjoy the benefit of hassle-free travel. “If you are using the system, to potentially get through the entire airport you will be able to zip through in 10-15 min versus 20-30 minutes.

We think that this will create an incentive for people,” Sinha told reporters. The ease of travel offered by opting for the digital system will serve as a “pull factor” for passengers as opposed to a “push factor”, the minister hoped. Once the technical committee presents its white paper, comments from stakeholders will be invited for a period of 30 days.

Thereafter, the government will finalise the rules in 30 to 60 days. A new set of rules or Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) will be prepared by the government which will state that a UID is a mandatory requirement at the time of booking a flight ticket, Sinha said.

The minister added that the move will also help in executing its proposed no-fly list on unruly passengers as it will help in tracking them.

The technical committee will also suggest a data-sharing protocol among travel portals, the airlines, airports, security agencies as well as various concessionaires such as parking and transportation providers.

The digital system of travelling will not be mandatory for airports to execute, according the minister.