Chief Secretary Visits Birmingham Airport to Lay Last Section of the Runway Extension

Birmingham Airport’s re-development programme, one of the country’s top 40 infrastructure projects, has entered its final stage before completion.

Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and chair of the Infrastructure Committee, welcomed progress on the scheme during a visit to the airport today.

Work on the final stage of the project, a £40 million 400 metre extension of the runway, is well under-way and due to complete in the next few months. The Minister brought this closer to completion by starting the last section of paving on the runway extension. The longer runway will allow larger aircraft to operate from the airport and support more direct long-haul flights to destinations currently out of reach, such as Brazil, China, and the West Coast of the USA.

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The runway expansion is just one part of a long-term investment programme, worth over £100 million, at the airport. The earlier stages have already delivered a new combined terminal, a new maintenance hangar for larger aircraft and a state-of-the-art air traffic control tower. The airport development has been funded through private sector investment, and will support the airport’s long term ambition of quadrupling the annual number of passengers to 36 million.

As well as significant benefits to consumers and passengers, the airport development will open up new growth opportunities, through additional long-haul connectivity, for businesses throughout the Midlands and beyond.

Danny Alexander, said: "Rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure is crucial to the economic recovery, and this is one of many major projects being delivered this year. The extended runway, together with other developments at the airport, is great news for passengers, businesses and the wider region. The new Birmingham Airport will be critical to growth in the Midlands and will contribute to rebalancing the economy away from the South East."

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