Birmingham Airport will be equipped to welcome a fully-laden A380 from May 1, the date its runway extension becomes operational.
The 400-metre extension will increase the runway length to 3,003 metres and will allow airlines to offer long-haul passenger services from the airport.
The current runway places restrictions on an aircraft’s weight at take-off and limits the maximum range of direct flights from Birmingham to the US east coast, the Middle East, Northern India and Pakistan.
The extra 400 metres of runway will allow aircraft to take more fuel, freight and passengers, and fly up to an extra 3,700 kms.
China Southern will be the first long-haul airline to take advantage of the extended runway from July 22 when it operates a charter flight to and from Beijing.
Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport, said: “Unlike other UK airports, Birmingham is in a unique position to grow in size straight away. We could literally double the number of passengers through the airport tomorrow and the runway extension will give us the capacity to handle 36 million passengers a year…
“Birmingham can offer an alternative to the congested London airports and the runway extension will provide global connectivity for the thriving Midlands region.”
The runway extension construction began in autumn 2012 and cost £33 million.