GVK group-run Mumbai airport has been crowned (ताज पहनाया) the world’s busiest among the single-runway facilities as it overtakes London’s Gatwick airport, which handles 757 flights a day. The airport operator and Mumbai air traffic controller (ATC) handle one of the difficult jobs in the world, as every 65 seconds an aircraft either takes off or touches down at the airport, that is, around 837 flights a day. All leading cities like New York, London, Dubai, and Singapore have more than one airport, with multiple runways. Mumbai airport flew 45.2 million people in 2017 against 44 million at Gatwick airport. Of this, 12.4 million were international travellers At 45.2 million, Mumbai handled only 18.6% of total air traffic in the country, while Delhi airport handled 57.7 million passengers, or 21.6%, of total air traffic in the country in 2016-17.
A sneak peek into Mumbai airport
No other large city in the world is served by a lone airport that has a single operational runway
Illegal squatters(अवैध विकलांग) occupy nearly one-third of airport land
Second airport proposed in Navi Mumbai is yet to come up
All passenger and cargo operate from a single runway (09/27). When shut for repairs, it uses secondary runway (1432)
ATC manages two arrivals every 130 seconds and one departure in between these two arrivals
In 2016-17, it logged in 8% growth in volume over 2015-16
Originally envisaged (परिकल्पना की गई) capacity is only 40 million passengers
Mumbai has an extensive network that takes passengers to over 95 domestic and international destinations
In terms of cargo shipments, it has grown to 7,829,000 tonnes in 2016-17, from 532,000 tonnes in 2007-08
What makes the job more difficult is when the flight operations are moved to the less-efficient runway. However, various projects and initiatives, including constructing of rapid exit taxiways, widening (चौड़ा) runways and taxiways and improving airspace management, are on the cards.