US-based Oakland County International Airport has started its $7m runway expansion.

Hopes are that the upgrade of one of the two east-west runways at the airport will attract new business to the county.

It also enables local flights to travel to the West Coast, Mexico, Europe and Asia without refuelling.

The runway will be extended by 320ft for a total distance of 6,520ft and is expected to be complete by July 2009, the Oakland Press has reported.

The airport is also planning to complete new green terminal worth $5.5m by mid-2010, after the plan was finalised in October 2008.

The airport has also spent $38m on noise reduction, about 95% of which has come from federal government funds.

While work is being carried out the airport will run its operations normally on another 5,675ft runway.