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Govt starts talks with stakeholders on digital number for air travellers

The government has started consultations with various stakeholders to furnish a digital identification number to be given to air passengers at the time of booking tickets, Lok Sabha was informed on Thursday.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the upgradation of technology for passenger facilitation was a continuous process.
"Various stakeholders' consultations have been conducted and suggestions have been received for air passengers to furnish a digital identification number at the time of purchasing an air ticket to enable seamless air travel," he said during Question Hour.
Raju said discussions are held regularly with diverse stakeholders on the usage of technology for the benefit of passengers and adopting common protocols for data-sharing across airlines, airports, travel agents and others.
The Minister's reply came in response to a question whether the government was planning to make it mandatory for air passengers to furnish a unique identity number at the time of flight booking.
Raju said the civil aviation ministry has constituted three committees, including a technical committee, to implement technology-enabled seamless passenger facilities across airports in India.
"No specific timeline has been fixed because input will be received from the committee periodically regarding appropriate technology standards and inter-operability protocols," he said.
The government on Thursday said it would take into consideration suggestions and views received from time to time before deciding on the contours of Air India disinvestment.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told the Lok Sabha that IndiGo has submitted an expression of interest with respect to disinvestment of Air India.
"Suggestions and views are received from time to time, including the articles published in media, regarding disinvestment of Air India. These would be kept in mind while arriving at the final decision regarding contours of the disinvestment," Sinha said in a written reply.
While replying to questions from various members on Air India disinvestment, Sinha said the airline has been facing losses for the past many years not only on account of merger with Indian Airlines but also due to multitude of other factors.
These include high fuel prices, interest burden, debt- equity ratio, airport user charges and increasing competition, especially from low cost carriers, he added.
At the end of March this year, the airline's total debt stood at Rs 48,876.81 crore as per provisional figures, he noted.

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