The expansion of Luton Airport will now take flight after the government backed plans this morning.
A raft of upgrades were agreed by Luton Borough Council in December but Communities Secretary Eric Pickles asked to review the decision.
He has now given consent to the plans which will take the airport’s capacity from 12 million to 18 million passengers a year.
The biggest change will be a vast expansion of the airport terminal, which will be remodelled and modernised.
Once complete it will be equipped with:
> Up to 20 security passenger screening lanes
> 15 immigration passenger screening lanes
> Up to eight international and one domestic passenger reclaim belts
> Increase retail, catering, circulation and seating areas
> A new two storey pier
A number of changes will also be made around the terminal.
A new parallel taxiway will be built to increase the capacity of the existing runway for an additional six million passengers a year.
The road from the Holiday Inn Roundabout will be dueled and a newly configured road system will be put in place to the front of the terminal area.
A new multi-storey car park will also be built.
Glyn Jones, managing director of the airport, issued his pleasure at the decision.
He said: “We are delighted that after a thorough process, the council can proceed to grant planning permission for London Luton.
“We see this as a real vote of confidence in the Airport and its future, underlining the determination of our new owners, Ardian and Aena, to develop and radically improve London Luton and deliver a better airport experience for our passengers in the years to come.
“The opportunities it brings for the local economy in terms of jobs and investment are significant, and Luton can now press ahead with making its local airport bigger and better, while remaining a good neighbour.”
The announcement comes a fortnight after easyJet revealed its intention to more than double its operation at the airport.
The airline says this 10-year deal will create 2,500 new jobs and take its own operation from four million to nine million passengers a year.