Charlotte Douglas International Airport plans to start laying the groundwork toward building a fifth runway at a cost of $160 million, according to the Charlotte Observer. The 12,000-foot runway would lessen noise impacts, and allow for nonstop flights to “Europe or the Pacific rim” at some point, aviation director Jerry Orr said last week.

Orr said the airport plans to begin environmental studies next year, with the goal of starting construction in 2014. The longest runway is now 10,000 feet long.

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