Birmingham Airport has agreed to go out to tender for its runway extension and is confident the £65 million project will be completed by the end of 2014.
The airport’s board met this week and gave the green light to the scheme which it says will deliver a multi-million boost to the regional economy.
The decision means that Birmingham will for the first time be able to join London’s three airports and Manchester by offering non-stop flights to China, India and the west coast of America.
An airport spokeswoman said: “At a scheduled board meeting, the Airport Company agreed to progress with the next stage of the runway extension project.
"Later this year tenders will be invited for the works. Once acceptable bids have been received major construction work on the extension is expected to start in 2012 with completion by the end of 2014.”
The runway extension has the full backing of the airport board, consisting of West Midlands council leaders and private shareholders the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and Victorian Funds Management.
Chris Crean, from West Midlands West Midlands Friends of the Earth said: “The £32 million cost of realigning the A45 has secured £25 million of public money with the airport stumping up a paltry £7 million.
"The only reason the A45 needs realigning is to enable the runway extension to proceed. The airport should be paying much more of these costs.”