Valley International Airport (VIA) in the US has secured the approval from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the extension of runway 17R/35L.

Under the $15.5m construction project, the runway will be extended from 8,301ft to 9,400ft.

A longer runway will ensure a safe landing and take off for all flights.

Runway 17R/35L is one of the three runways that are currently in use at the airport.

The design work will commence this month and be finished in about nine months.

VIA aviation assistant director Bryan Wren was quoted by Valley Morning Star as saying: “We have been piece-mealing this runway extension probably for about three-and-a-half, four years, trying to get it through planning, budgeting, getting the FAA’s buy-off on it.”

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The airport is preparing to break ground on the new runway in a span of 12 months.

The project will receive funding from FAA’s Airport Improvement Programme and the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC).

The runway will be extended towards the south on the land which is owned by the airport.

Wren said: “However, the FAA requires the airport to secure property to protect the runway protection zone. That process has already basically been completed. An agreement with all landowners has been done and we’re looking to close, I think, within the next seven days.”

This runway expansion will result in the removal of restricted flight loads on cargo carriers.

About a year ago, the airport submitted an environmental evaluation for the runway expansion which obtained clearance under a federal requirement.

Wren added: “Because the airport has two other runways, it will minimally impact airport operations. While the project is being constructed the aircraft can use runways 13-31 (7,257ft) and 17L (5,949ft).”

New navigation systems are also expected to be deployed on other runways after the closing down of the 17R/35L runway.

These systems will guide pilots during landing and navigation.