Mumbai airport handled 980 movements in 24 hours on January 20, there by breaking its own record of handling 974 flights in 24 hours that it set on December 6, 2017.
Mumbai airport handled 837 flights a day in March 2017, overtaking London Gatwick as the busiest single-runway airport in the world that handled 757 flights at that time.
London Gatwick currently handles 870 (declared this year) movements a day. Even though the single-runway airport handles lesser movements than Mumbai airport, it is considered more efficient since it’s only operational for 19 hours a day (between 5am-12am).
“The most important difference between Gatwick and Mumbai is the environment the two airports are set in. Mumbai airport functions in a space-starved, infrastructure-constrained environment, unlike any other. More flights can’t be added onto Mumbai’s single runway without a holistic approach that takes into account the ground realities, India’s regulatory framework, human factors etc,” says a senior air traffic controller from Mumbai in an interview with The Times of India.
London has four airports — Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton — while Mumbai is only served by one airport — Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. London has a total of five runways operational at one time for operations. While Mumbai has two runways (a main and secondary runway), only one is operational at a time.
As os now, Mumbai Airport’s main runway is going to be closed for seven hours daily between 10am-5pm (except Wednesdays) until February 17. Airlines have been requested to re-schedule flights in order to avoid cancellations and grievances to their customers.