Work on extending the runway at Birmingham Airport which will allow the facility to accommodate larger aircrafts has gotten underway.

The existing runway will be lengthened by 405 metres to 3,003 metres which means that companies will be able to charter flights to currently out of reach destinations such as China, South America, South Africa and the west coast of the US. This has been made possible as aircraft will be able to take on more fuel and will not have to make the stops in between which has been the case up until now. It marks a significant step forward for Birmingham Airport and will allow it to compete with the likes of London Heathrow and Gatwick in travelling to these far-flung areas of the world.

As the Midlands airport will be soon able to offer long haul flights, officials at the facility have been in discussions with both current and new airlines about possible routes from Birmingham to the likes of the aforementioned destinations. One company that has announced an additional service from the airport is Swiss International Air Lines which stated that it will be providing regular flights from Birmingham to Singapore.

The company stated that the service will come into force from May 12th 2013 and charter flights from a number of UK and Ireland destinations including the Midlands. Officials noted that it would involve a stopover in Zurich where the company is based but again represents progress made by Birmingham Airport to attract more major organisations to charter planes from the facility.

Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport's chief executive, said: "The strong economic profile of the Midlands means that businesses are crying out for direct connectivity from their local airport so it makes no sense that 3.3 million passengers from the West Midlands last year flew from airports in the south-east, adding congestion on the roads and at Heathrow, which is already 99.2 per cent full.

"Redirecting this traffic back to the Midlands would release high value, long-haul capacity at London airports and boost the UK’s trading potential."

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