New Delhi-Dubai and Mumbai-Dubai are currently the third and eight busiest international routes in the world respectively, according to traffic data for the month of April released by UK aviation data company OAG.
India-UAE country pair has been the second busiest international route in the world from January, but in April it’s likely to have taken the top slot, what with 2.6 lakh seats in total to be flown by airlines between these two Indian cities and Dubai. April’s busiest international route, Orlando-San Juan (Puerto Rico) on the other hand has 1.6 lakh seats and there are no other routes between US cities and Puerto Rico in the top ten list.
The second busiest route is from Moscow Domodedovo airport to Simferopol in Ukraine with 1.56 lakh seats, showed OAG data. Dubai is the only destination in the top ten global list to feature thrice; Cairo-Dubai is the seventh busiest route.
The rankings aren’t an indicator of demand for travel on these routes. What they do point to is the extent of government restrictions certain routes are under due to the pandemic. Like for instance: pre-pandemic Mumbai-Delhi was the third busiest domestic route in the world after South Korea’s Jeju-Seoul Gimpo and Australia’s Melbourne-Sydney routes.
While Jeju-Seoul Gimpo has retained its top slot as the busiest domestic route in the world, currently, at the number two slot is Vietnam’s Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City and the third route is Beijing-Shanghai Hongqiao. While Melbourne-Sydney now takes the seventh rank, Mumbai-Delhi is no longer in the top ten list of busiest domestic routes due to the restrictions on flight movements that the Mumbai airport is under.
To control the spread of Covid, the Maharashtra state government has capped the number of flight operations at Mumbai airport to 300 per day, which is less than one-third of what the Mumbai airport handled before the pandemic broke out.