The An Bord Pleanala has granted strategic infrastructure status to a proposal to build a new international airport in County Offaly, Ireland.
The proposed airport, to be developed at an estimated cost of €200m ($257m), will be built on a 640ha site in Tubber.
The project site is located 20km east of Athlone and 80km west of Dublin, according to the Irish Times.
The airport will cater to both passenger and commercial cargo traffic, and is expected to handle two million passengers each year by 2020.
The project, to be situated close to the M6 motorway, will also include the construction of a railway, which will link the airport to the Dublin-Galway mainline rail route.
Tullamore-based architect Patrick Little, who is leading the project, said the construction would begin within the next 12 months and the airport would be open at the end of 2013.