Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport in Mumbai broke its own record of handling the most number of flights in a day. It earlier had a record of handling 974 flights in a single day, which has been replaced by its new record of 980 flights on January 20 - both arrivals and landings. It also means that it is the busiest single-runway airport in the world, with almost one flight every minute.
In its annual report in 2017, Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation mentioned that the Mumbai airport has reached 94 per cent of its maximum passenger handling capacity and would reach its saturation point in 2018. According to reports, officials mentioned that any more increase in the number of flights would prove to be a major achievement for the airport.
"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," a senior air traffic controller said.
Although Mumbai airport has made new records, it still has to overtake UK's Gatwick airport in terms of efficiency. Gatwick still is the most efficient single-runway airport in the world. According to data from UK's Airport Coordination Ltd, Gatwick declared an aircraft handling capacity of 870 flights for summer 2018. However, unlike the Mumbai airport that is functional for 24 hours, the Gatwick airport is operational only for 19 hours, 5 - 12 am due to night time restrictions.
Even during peak hours Gatwick handles 55 flights in an hour, whereas Mumbai has been able to touch 52 so far. Moreover, Gatwick frequently handles 55 flights, but Mumbai rarely touches 52 flights, with an average of 48 flights.
Nevertheless, London is served by four airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton, whereas there is only one airport for Mumbai, since the Juhu airport does not handle airline flights.