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India’s skies are filling up quickly with airplanes. Its domestic air market grew at a jaw-dropping 17.4% rate from 2016 to 2017. Currently it’s a market of around 120 million flyers, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects that number to grow to 278 million by 2026. The world’s best performing airline stock is SpiceJet, a domestic Indian airline, currently up over 570% since the beginning of 2015.

The trouble is, India’s airport infrastructure is struggling to keep up.

Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) is the second busiest airport in India, only behind Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL). Mumbai’s airport has two intersecting runways, which it tried to use simultaneously until it scrapped that plan in 2013. Since then, it almost always uses just one runway. (Runway 09/27, for AvGeeks — meaning it’s oriented straight East /West.)

And, with an airport that carries 45 million passengers per year, that runway gets a ton of use. In fact, it’s the world record holder for most flights operated by one runway during a 24-hour period. And, it just broke its own record.

On January 20, the 09/27 runway at BOM handled 980 aircraft movements. That’s nearly 41 flights per hour across the 24-hour period. That beats the airport’s previous record of 974 flights in 24 hours achieved on December 6.

In order to handle this many flights in a 24-hour period, BOM’s Runway 09/27 requires 24-hour operations. While Mumbai holds the record for most flights in a 24-hour period, there are other runways that are more efficient per operating hour. As pointed out by the International Business Times, London Gatwick Airport (LGW)’s single operating runway will handle as many as 870 flights in its 19-hour operating window from 5am to midnight. That’s almost 46 flights per hour, beating BOM’s average of just under 41 per hour.

Featured image by Education Images / Getty Images

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