The UK government's economic sub-committee, chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May, has backed plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport which were subsequently approved by her full cabinet. The scheme will create huge amounts of work for architects, engineers and construction firms.
According to the BBC Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said it was a "historic moment".
Announcing £2.6bn in compensation for residents and noise abatement measures he said it would only proceed if air quality obligations were met.
"The time for action is now," Grayling told MPs, insisting the decision was being taken in the national interest and would benefit the whole of the UK - with 15% of new landing slots "facilitating" regional connectivity.
The scheme, he insisted, would be funded entirely privately and while the expansion was a "number of years away", he believed it could be concluded by 2026.
UK government MPs will be asked to vote on the expansion plans by 11 July.
The debate on expanding Heathrow has been going on for nearly 20 years and opposition to the scheme, which will involve demolishing hundreds of homes, is sure to be fierce.
The last UK Labour government backed the idea, and won a vote on it in 2009, but that plan was scrapped - and the idea of expansion put on hold for five years - by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition formed after the 2010 election.
But the idea of expansion was resurrected and has been subsequently backed by the Conservatives. Ministers approved a draft national airports policy statement in October setting out the conditions for a new runway, Parliament has yet to give its approval for detailed planning to begin.
Opponents have threatened a legal challenge while Mr Boris Johnson, who is MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in west London, has vowed to "lie down in front of bulldozers" to prevent it.