The UK Government has approved plans for Southend Airport in Essex to extend its runway.
The plan was supported by the UK secretary of state for the environment, John Denham, despite recent controversy over expansions at Heathrow and Stansted.
The move had been opposed by a local campaign group, which feared it could lead to greater congestion and pollution in the area.
The runway extension is expected to increase passenger figures at the airport to two million a year and create more than 1,000 jobs.
Currently, only Flybe offers consumer services at the airport, which is predominantly a hub for private businesses and aircraft maintenance.
Following the expansion, however, the airport is expected to attract the interest of other low-cost carriers and potentially offer an alternative to Stansted and London City airports, particularly in light of the forthcoming London 2012 Olympics.