The busiest single runway airports in Asia, Europe and North America | Popgen Tech


With most of the world’s largest airports having planes arriving and departing virtually continuously, it is sensible that they’ve a number of runways. As Easy Flying explored in an article final 12 months, Chicago O’Hare Worldwide (ORD) has a whopping eight runways! Nevertheless, airports with just one energetic runway may also deal with severe passenger numbers, as we are going to now discover.

Asia – Mumbai

In terms of Asia, the continent’s busiest single-runway airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Worldwide (BOM), which serves the Indian metropolis of Mumbai. It’s value noting that whereas it has two runways, they intersect in a manner which means just one can be utilized at a time, thus making it a one-runway facility.


Regardless of this, Mumbai has important operational capabilities, and, as Enterprise Traveler reported on the time, dealt with 980 flights in 24 hours again in 2018. Its earlier report was 974. Within the 12-month interval that features April 2021 to March 2022, practically 22 million passengers used this environment friendly facility. Earlier than the coronavirus pandemic, the annual complete was practically 50 million.

Within the 2010s, the airport experimented with two-runway operations throughout its peak hours. The intention of this, as reported by the Indian Categorical on the time, was to have the ability to deal with 48 flights per hour. Nevertheless, this observe ceased when single-runway operations have been finally discovered to be extra environment friendly, and remains to be the case at this time.

Mumbai Airport Aerial View

Europe – London Gatwick

In Europe, London Gatwick Airport (LGW) finds itself in an identical place to Mumbai. Whereas this facility, positioned south of the British capital, additionally has two runways, they’re positioned too shut collectively to permit for parallel operations. As such, Gatwick will also be positioned within the single runway class.

The ability primarily makes use of the three,316 meter (10,879 ft) 08R/26L as its essential runway, with the two,565 meter (8,415 ft) 08L/26R sometimes serving as a taxiway. In the meantime, this secondary strip may be totally utilized if the bigger choice is closed for upkeep. In 2021, Gatwick dealt with simply over six million passengers.

Nevertheless, earlier than the onset of the worldwide well being disaster, its annual passenger numbers have been over 46 million. Sooner or later, the airport has plans to extend its capability to 74 million passengers per 12 months. Nevertheless, the development of an additional runway could possibly be a characteristic of this enlargement, which might see Gatwick faraway from the one-runway checklist.

Gatwick Runway

Photograph: Gatwick Airport

North America – San Diego

In distinction to its multi-runway California counterparts in San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Diego Worldwide Airport (SAN) has lengthy been recognized for being North America’s busiest single-strip facility. The runway in query has the orientations 09/27, and is 2,865 meters (9,401 toes) lengthy.

The airport dealt with greater than 15 million passengers in 2021, though its pre-pandemic figures exceeded 25 million. Not like Mumbai and London Gatwick, San Diego is a real one-runway affair. As such, SNC Lavalin notes that runway upkeep and repairs should happen through the nighttime. This avoids disruption to daytime operations at this busy single lane hub.

What number of of those airports have you ever flown to? Do you like single or multi-runway services? Tell us your ideas and experiences within the feedback!

Sources: Enterprise Traveller, Indian Occasions, SNC Lavalin


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