A £65 million project to improve the roads around Birmingham Airport was unveiled today, laying the ground for a runway extension.
The scheme will open up direct flights from the West Midlands to the West Coast of America and to China.
It was announced today that contractors VolkerFitzpatrick and Colas have been jointly appointed for both the A45 Transport Corridor Improvement and the runway extension.
Work will start on the £32m road scheme in July, and it is expected to be completed by next summer, with work on the runway extension starting in June 2013.
The £33m runway project is expected to be in operation by the spring of 2014.
By extending the runway by 405 metres, to 3,000 metres, it will allow planes to travel longer distances and provide direct links to the Far East and West Coast of the United States for the first time.
In addition, the airport is investing £13m in a new air traffic control tower and radar system, which will be operational in 2013, and £9m in a resurfacing of the runway.
John Morris, head of industry and government affairs for Birmingham Airport, said: "By meeting local demand, the airport will reduce unnecessary long-distance surface journeys to other UK airports and generate sustainable long-term economic growth inside its own local area."
The A45 Transport Corridor Improvement Scheme will improve the A45 Coventry Road between Damson Parkway and M42 Junction 6. It is intended to reduce congestion, improve safety and accessibility.