Higher incomes and cheaper fares have led to a drastic increase in air travel, and so it is not surprising that India is now all set to be the third biggest aviation market after China and the United States of America. At a time like this, Mumbai airport on Saturday set a world record by handling 969 flights in 24 hours.
The number of flights handled by Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in a span of 24 hours — from 5:30 am on Friday to 5:30 am on Saturday — was more than any other single-runway airport. They have broken their own previous record — from May this year —when they handled 935 flights.
With the capacity to handle 46 aircraft movements within 60 minutes, this runway twice made an exception by handling 50 take-offs and landings in 60 minutes. The number was this high also because it included private and chartered aircraft apart from the scheduled flights.
New Delhi airport operates on three runways at any given point in time. Although Mumbai airport has two runways, the fact that they intersect means they can never be operated simultaneously. Mumbai airport operates on one runway for all cargo and passenger flights. If one runway is closed for repairs, the other runway is used. Thus, it is technically a single-runway airport. Also, there is no land available to construct another runway.
Despite this, Mumbai airport handles around 900 aircraft movements on a regular basis. According to a Mumbai International Airport Ltd. official, the goal is to reach 1,000 aircraft take-offs and landings.
Recently, budget aircraft carrier SpiceJet claimed that of the 1.3 billion population of India, 97 percent has never taken a flight. Though India is the third largest market in the aviation sector, there is scope for much more growth.