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With 130 flights daily between India's political capital and the commercial capital, Mumbai-New Delhi was the third-busiest domestic air route in the world in 2017.
A total of 47,462 scheduled flights were operated between the two airports in 2017, next only to South Korea's Seoul Gimpo-Jeju route (64,991 flights) and Australia's Melbourne-Sydney (54,519), according to data released by the United Kingdom's OAG Aviation Worldwide, an air travel intelligence firm.

The ranking is based on the number of total flights operated between two domestic airports and not two cities. Unlike megacities such as New York and London, Mumbai and Delhi have only one major airport each, so all their air traffic is routed from these two airports.

While Bengaluru-Delhi was the 11th-busiest route in the world with 29,427 flights between two airports last year, Bengaluru-Mumbai was 16th, with 23,857 flights.

In fact, four out of the top five busiest air routes (both international and domestic together) in the world are in the Asia-Pacific region, with Brazil's Rio De Janeiro-Sao Paulo (5) being the only outsider.

Among international routes also, all the top five routes were within Asia and only two non-Asian routes— New York La Guardia-Toronto (6) and Dublin-London Heathrow (9) — in the top 10. Hong Kong-Taipei was the busiest international route in the world last year. If both domestic and international routes are listed together, then Hong Kong-Taipei would be the 11th busiest route in the world.


When it comes to punctuality on the 20 busiest domestic routes, Japan emerges on the top with Tokyo Haneda-Osaka route (17th busiest, 21,900 flights) seeing 90.40 % of flights departing and landing within 15 minutes of their scheduled time. Jeju-Seoul had an average on-time performance (OTP) of 74.06 %.

In comparison, the Mumbai-Delhi route recorded an OTP of 59.14% — among the worst of 20 busiest air routes. According to OAG, a flight is considered to be on time if it arrives/departs within 14 minutes and 59 seconds of its scheduled time.


A senior A320 commander, requesting anonymity, said: "If the other airports that are as busy or busier than Mumbai and Delhi can manage better punctuality, why can't we?''

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