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CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) — Charlotte Douglas International Airport says it’s building a 12,000-foot runway that its aviation director says will lessen noise for some residents under current flight paths.

The Charlotte Observer reports (http://bit.ly/SOQnR0 ) that Aviation Director Jerry Orr said the new runway would be longer than existing runways, allowing for nonstop departures to Europe or the Pacific rim, although no such flights are in the immediate future. Those routes need a longer runway because the planes carry more fuel.

The $160 million project will be the airport’s fifth runway, and its fourth parallel runway. It will allow the airport to land three planes at once, while keeping one runway exclusively for takeoffs.

Orr said he plans to begin environmental studies next year. Construction can probably begin in 2014.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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