Setting a new world record on Saturday, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in a span of 24 hours handled take-offs and landings of as many as 969 flights! With this record, Mumbai airport has overshadowed its previous best of 935 that it registered earlier this year in the month of May. Mega cities such as New York, London, Dubai, Delhi and Mumbai are counted among the world’s busiest airports. Moreover, New York, London, Dubai and Delhi have airports with two or more runways that operate simultaneously. Although Mumbai also has two runways, they criss-cross each other, so only one runway is used at a time. The New Delhi airport has three parallel runways in use at any given time. As against this, Mumbai has to make do with a single runway for all passenger and cargo aircraft and when it is shut for repairs, it uses the secondary runway. Therefore, technically this puts Mumbai in the single-runway airport category. Significantly, the airport has achieved this world record for its single-runway operations.
According to Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), the airport usually handles over 900 flights per day. The airport registers a record-high air-traffic only when the number of unscheduled flights – charter flights, or private flights – rise. The runway reportedly has the capacity to handle 46 take offs and departures within 60 minutes. However, it handled 50 flights in 60 minutes twice on Friday, taking the number to a whopping 969. The report claimed that the record was made for the period starting from 5.30 am on Friday to 5.30 am on Saturday.
Notably, the GVK group-run Mumbai airport had become the world’s busiest airport amongst the single-runway facilities by handling 837 flights a day or one in 65 seconds on an average in fiscal 2017, taking over London’s Gatwick airport that had 757 flights a day. In terms of the number of passengers also, the city airport tops with 45.2 million people flying in and out in fiscal 2017 as against 44 million at Gatwick airport.
The Mumbai airport earlier this year had also welcomed two Airbus A350-900 that resulted in it becoming the only airport in the country to handle daily operations of two of the world’s most advanced premium passenger aircraft.