The Greater Moncton International Airport is celebrating the extension of its runway Thursday, hoping it will lure more business to the Hub City.   

The 3,048-metre extension marks a major step in the airport’s long-term plan to expand its air cargo facilities.

The longer runway is expected to allow fully loaded cargo aircraft to reach Europe without load and fuel restrictions.

Rob Robichaud, the airport authority's manager, said during a 2011 interview there were 800 cargo flights per day flying overhead that could land in Moncton.

Prior to this runway, the longest runway at Moncton airport was 2,438 metres long.

Moncton is second behind Halifax in the region for air cargo shipments. Halifax's Stanfield International Airport officially opened its expanded runway, catering to large cargo jets in January.

In 2009, the Moncton airport launched a study that examined ways the facility could become the air cargo hub of the Maritimes. According to the Moncton airport's statistics, in 1997 its cargo volume was 14,000 metric tonnes.

In 2007, the airport's cargo volume jumped to 24,527 metric tonnes. Meanwhile, the Halifax airport handled roughly 28,000 metric tonnes of cargo in 2008.