Travellers will soon be able to enter airports in the country with facial recognition biometric under the government’s Digi Yatra initiative. Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu said the initiative would be “forward-looking and futuristic” and would be launched soon. He also said facial recognition biometric feature would be optional for air passengers. Digi Yatra initiative seeks to promote paperless and hassle-free air travel. It is biometrics-based digital processing system for passenger entry and related requirements at the airport. The Digi Yatra central platform would be operational by end of February 2019. Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports would be ready for Digi Yatra implementation on pilot basis by the same time. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) plans to roll out the initiative at Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune and Vijayawada airports by April next year, as per the ministry. Under Digi Yatra, there would be a centralised registration system for passengers and each of them would get a unique ID. The ID would be shared by passengers at the time of booking tickets. The ID can be created by sharing name, e-mail id, mobile number and details of any identity proof, including Aadhaar. Before travel, the airline would share the passenger data and the ID with the airport from where the passenger would be flying out. There would be one-time verification at the departure airport while travelling for the first time using the ID. After successful verification, facial recognition biometric would be captured and stored in the Digi Yatra ID.