The process of simplifying India’s myriad security architecture has been ongoing for a while now. First, we started work on removing the hand-baggage security screening tags. They are gone from 45 Indian airports now. Then, we discontinued the departure card for Indians. While all of this looks like it is habitual, in reality, these are all things that have been done 12-18 months ago.
Next steps, move away from stamping boarding passes. This would allow for electronic boarding passes to be ushered in. Delhi Airport is going to be the second airport in India which is going towards the non-stamping of boarding passes. Hyderabad Airport introduced an end-to-end e-boarding process in 2015, while other airports such as Bangalore have been the testbed of electronic boarding with Aadhar.
Delhi Airport is starting the process with Terminal 2, where GoAir was the first airline to move in. Come August, Delhi Airport plans to move to non-stamping of these boarding passes, even after you enter the secure holding area. The plan is to start with GoAir, then add other airlines into the mix as the airport can begin adding more gates to this tech-enabled process.
Mumbai and Bangalore are also working on rolling out the workflow to stop the stamping of the boarding passes going forward. In Mumbai, the airport will install scanners at the pre-embarkation security check area. Once you are scanned in, the next set of (virtual) stamping will happen at the security check booth, where instead of marking your boarding pass with ink, the database will be marked that you have managed to clear the security check. At the other end, once at the gate, all the information will be tallied in real time before boarding confirmation is done. This step is first expected to be enabled at the Mumbai Terminal 2.
All of these initiatives are being rolled out first for domestic airlines, but at some point of time, even international airlines can expect to access the same systems and go entirely online on the security check process.
I am so glad to hear that our aviation security model is finally coming in line with how the rest of the world functions. Some of these processes are better off not existing, but I hope more complicated digital processes are not replacing them. Sometimes I wonder why not just leapfrog to facial recognition rather than still building for barcode scanning in India at the moment.
I’m tiny hopeful that this step would facilitate the launch of mobile boarding passes for Indians in the future rather than printed boarding passes which are still the norm. (Full disclosure, I love paper boarding passes!)
What are your thoughts about paperless boarding finally coming to age? All good or too little too late?