Ministry of Civil Aviation has asked the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) to develop a protocol to enable airline companies issue barcoded boarding cards on mobile phones, reports The Times of India.

The report states that the ministry hopes to implement this system in the coming weeks and following this the implementation, domestic airline companies will be able to send these boarding cards to passengers via email, after they check-in online or through telephone. That being said, its worth noting that these mobile boarding passes are currently limited to only domestic airline companies.

Citing an official who is currently working on this project, the report mentions that the concept has been cleared by the ministry and they are currently working on solving the issue of allowing passengers to carry their mobile phones during the security check to enable Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officials verify the boarding pass and allow the passenger to board the plane. At present, passengers are mandated to keep their mobile phones along with their luggage during the security check process.

Implications

This is definitely a welcome move, as it will result in lesser queues at the boarding pass counter and also help airports reduce paper costs on boarding passes. However, we feel that the government should roll out this system and not keep the project as yet another pilot project. We also feel that the government should extend this feature to International flights as well.

If the project does get through, we hope that government also allows third party apps and OTAs to access this service to pass on similar benefits to their customers. For instance, this development could make services like Apple’s Passbook or the recently launched Samsung Wallet app finally relevant in India, and allow OTAs to offer paperless boarding passes to their customers.

Remember that Indian airports already accepts virtual tickets, following a notification from India’s Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. However, back in January, the Airport security (at least at Mumbai Airport) had no clue about this order. We are not sure if the situation has changed now.

Cleartrip had also launched paperless tickets for flight, hotel and train bookings via Apple’s Passbook. These passes displayed important information about the traveler’s trip upfront with additional details on the reverse of the pass. The site has also enabled location and time-based Passbook notifications, so that passes automatically pop-up on the user’s smartphone’s screen, close to the time when they’re required.

However, since paperless boarding passes were not supported at the moment, the company was limited to offer only paperless tickets. We also believe that this development might also lead other OTAs to launch similar initiatives to their customers.