Transport minister Geoff Hoon has approved planning permission for Stansted airport to expand, overturning Uttlesford District Council's decision to deny planning permission for the expansion in November 2006.
The decision will allow the airport to carry an additional 10M passengers per year.
New transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said: "My Right hon friend the of State for Communities and Local Government and I have decided to grant planning permission to change two planning conditions attached to the Stansted airport 2003 permission.
"This relates to an appeal by BAA plc and Stansted Airport Ltd following the refusal of planning permission by Uttlesford District Council in November 2006.
"The decision allows for an increase in the number of flights to and from the airport in a year from 241,000 to 264,000 air traffic movements and an increase in the maximum number of passengers using the airport from 25M to 35M per annum.
Aviation Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: "There is an urgent need for additional runway capacity in the South East. We were clear in the Aviation White Paper that the first priority was to make best use of the existing runways, including using the remaining capacity at Stansted.
"We recognise that there have been strong views expressed about Stansted's expansion and all views were given the chance to be heard at the public inquiry. Ministers thought long and hard about the case before making their decision to allow an increase of a little under 10% in the maximum permitted number of flights to and from the airport from 241,000 to 264,000 air traffic movements a year. Their reasons are set out clearly in the decision letter
"Air travel is essential to the United Kingdom's economy and to our continued prosperity. The aviation industry directly employs 200,000 people with a further 600,000 jobs supported indirectly."