DANIA BEACH (CBSMiami) – The new South Runway at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is officially open.

After nearly 30 years of bickering, lawsuits and planning, the first flight to land on the new runway touched down at 9:45 a.m. The jetBlue Airways charter flight 1028, carrying 150 passengers, benefited the United Way of Broward County.

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The new runway is expected to make a big difference. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International has mainly used one runway.  The new eight-thousand foot long runway is expected to ease air traffic delays.

“Delays will be almost non-existent except for South Florida thunderstorms which we can’t do anything about,” said the director of the airport Kent George. “As for air traffic delays, they’re going to be non-existent.”

The new South Runway at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport officially opened on Sept. 18th.  (Source: Broward Co. Aviation)

The new South Runway at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport officially opened on Sept. 18th. (Source: Broward Co. Aviation)

It also means expansion. With a new runway and major airport improvements airlines can add flights.

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“It’s a great opportunity. We have Fort Lauderdale 100 coming, 100 departures a day, right now we’re at 60 a day. It really means a lot to us as we continue to grow. Fewer delays getting in and out,” said jetBlue’s Randy Forrester.

The airport handles approximately 600 to 700 flights a day, depending on the time of year.

The $826 million runway took nearly two and half years to complete. There are 12 tunnels that run under the runway’s two bridges to accommodate U.S.1, Perimeter Road and the FEC railroad tracks.

The 17 inch thick runway required 535,000 square yards of concrete and 90 miles of cable for electrical and lighting.

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