Leveraging India’s Aadhaar system will create the world’s most efficient travel system

Air Transport IT Summit, Jaipur, India | March 22, 2018– With its leading Smart PathTM biometric solution for ID management now rolled out globally, air transport IT provider SITA is well poised to deliver a seamless, paperless travel experience for passengers across India.

SITA has already shown the benefits of using biometric technology to automate passenger identity checks at airports across the world – from the USA to Australia – and is well positioned to help unlock the full benefits of seamless, biometric travel across India.

Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA Vice President Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa, speaking at the Air Transport IT Summit in Jaipur, said: “Leveraging India’s national Aadhaar biometric identity system – one of the biggest in the world – together with our proven common-use and Smart PathTM technology, SITA will be able to deliver a seamless biometric experience across all airlines and airports – both domestic and international – in India. This would allow passengers to use their biometric identity no matter where they travel.”

SITA is already successfully helping airports and airlines incorporate biometrics into their existing infrastructure and government systems. According to Biometrics for Better Travel: An ID Management Revolution, a SITA report published this week, airlines and airports are increasingly investing in various forms of biometric technology. Over the next three years, 63% of airports and 43% of airlines plan to invest in biometric ID management solutions.

In the USA, SITA is using facial biometrics to help passengers flying with British Airways from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to London Gatwick to quickly board where all that is needed is a photo – no passport, no boarding card. The system integrates the US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) and airline’s IT systems to authorize boarding while completing necessary US exit checks in a single process. SITA is providing a similar solution to JetBlue at Boston’s Logan Airport.

At Australia’s Brisbane Airport, SITA has introduced its Smart Path™ technology which allows passengers to register their biometric details at a self-service kiosk at check-in and then, when ready to board, use an automated boarding gate to be verified using face recognition technology to access the aircraft.

SITA’s vision for the future strongly supports India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation’s decision to work with the air transport industry to create a “digitally unified flying experience”. Citizens’ national biometric identification cards and foreigner’s passports could be linked with the databases of airlines, airports and other stakeholders to deliver a seamless, secure travel experience at every step in the journey.

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa, said: “In many respects, India is leading the way with the use of biometrics in all walks of life. We feel this presents an opportunity for the Government of India to work with the air transport industry and lead the way to drive new efficiencies in passenger processing and establish India as the world’s most efficient travel system.”

Aadhaar, India’s biometric identity system, has over one billion enrolled members. Indian passengers have shown greater willingness to use biometrics to speed up their journey through the airport. Research published in SITA’s  2017 Passenger IT Trends Survey showed that 70% of passengers in India said they would definitely use biometrics if given the option, removing the need to show a passport or boarding card at key points in the airport. This was well above the global average of 57%.

Maneesh Jaikrishna, said: “Many travelers are comfortable with the use of biometrics and see the benefits of using them throughout their journey. This aligns perfectly with the need to find more efficient ways to manage rising passenger numbers. There is little doubt that this technology is the key to resolving India’s constraints on airport infrastructure.”

India is expected to see passenger numbers grow by 337 million over the next 20 years to 2036, more than tripling from the 141 million passengers in 2016, according to IATA’s 20-year Air Passenger Forecast.

  • Frost & Sullivan awards SITA ‘2016 APAC Airport IT Solutions Company of the Year’

Singapore | October 13, 2016– Frost & Sullivan today recognized SITA as the Airport IT Solutions Company of the year in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region for the third time in seven years. The award highlights SITA’s leading role in the air transport industry across APAC, where it provides solutions to 70% of the region’s top 20 airports.

Frost & Sullivan was particularly impressed by the technology SITA has developed to provide a smooth end-to-end passenger journey through the airport. The four key elements highlighted were SITA Smart Path™, which uses biometrics to give passengers a walkthrough experience from check-in to the aircraft door; self-service technology, including kiosks, bagdrop and boarding gates; hybrid check-in/bagdrop desks, that can be used by agents and passengers alike and SITA’s Day of Travel app, that gives passengers the right information at the right time, wherever they are.

A key highlight was SITA’s airport operational expertise. Real time and predictive data is needed by airports to better anticipate, plan and control operations. SITA’s Day of Operations, and its Airport Management solution which is used at more than 150 airports in 48 countries, enable airlines to assign assets and resources more effectively and balance operational efficiency with business results.

Anston Tan Yong An, Industry Analyst Best Practices, Frost & Sullivan, said: “SITA sits right at the heart of the air transport industry. It stands out among its peers in its ability to deliver world-class technology solutions to the airport sector globally and across the Asia Pacific region.

“SITA’s product portfolio is supported by a management that understands aviation and is consistently able to deliver to their customer’s requirements and expectations. It has helped more than 1,000 airports globally operate more effectively while improving the overall passenger experience. And it can always be counted on to deliver unmatched service.”

Ilya Gutlin, SITA President, Asia Pacific, said: “APAC is a fascinating region for the air transport industry. We provide our solutions in the fastest-growing and largest airports in the world, and we tailor our offering to some of the smallest as well. This award from Frost & Sullivan is yet another accolade for our SITA team members throughout the region, who maintain a relentless focus on innovation and service excellence.”

  • Allowing passengers to use a single biometric token from entry to exit

Cologne, Germany | March 15, 2016– Today at Passenger Terminal EXPO, the world’s largest airport exhibition, global IT provider SITA revealed Smart Path™. This new technology allows passengers to move through the airport and board the aircraft simply by presenting themselves for a biometric check. Once verified there is no need for the passenger to present a boarding pass, a passport or travel documents again.

With SITA Smart Path, the passenger’s biometric details are captured through a facial scan at the first touch point in the journey. The record is checked against the passenger’s travel documents, typically the passport, and a secure single token is created. Then, at each step of the journey – from check-in, to aircraft boarding or border control – passengers gain access simply with a facial scan and without having to show their passport or boarding pass.

SITA Smart Path puts a fast, secure and seamless walkthrough experience within reach of passengers today. Unlike other offerings, SITA’s can be easily integrated into existing airport infrastructure and airline systems. This includes standard common-use, self-service equipment already in use across the industry such as check-in kiosks, bag drop units, gates for secure access, boarding and automated border control, making rapid deployment easy and cost-effective. Smart Path also integrates with government systems and databases, allowing integrated immigration and border checks.

Matthys Serfontein, Vice President, Airport Solutions, said: “SITA has a strong record of introducing new self-service solutions across the entire passenger journey for both airlines and airports. But we also provide sophisticated border management systems to Governments. Everyday hundreds of airlines use SITA technology to connect with Government identity management and risk assessment systems in countries around the world.

“We have built on this unique expertise to create SITA Smart Path – a single, secure, self-service process using existing common-use infrastructure which works seamlessly with multiple airline and Government systems. Smart Path simplifies secure, passenger processing for everyone – airlines, airports and border authorities.”

SITA is currently working with a number of major airlines and airports to integrate biometrics into the passenger journey and expects that by 2020 passengers using biometrics will be the norm at airports across the world.

Serfontein, added: “The key to single token travel is gathering and verifying data as early in the process as possible in order to establish a robust token. This includes both biometric and biographic information. And then if necessary to update it with more detailed information from airline, airport or government systems at various steps in the journey. That is exactly how we have designed SITA Smart Path.”

SITA, provides self-service solutions at every step of the passenger journey from check-in to boarding. Its passenger processing applications are used by more than 165 airlines globally and its common-use systems board more than 100 million passengers per year. Today it provides border management solutions to more than 30 Governments and has in excess of 1,000 self-boarding lanes across the globe which can be used to introduce this new biometric system.