UK transport secretary Chris Grayling has declared that the government's cabinet has approved construction of a third runway at London Heathrow.
Describing the decision as a "historic moment" before Parliament, he stated that it followed the original recommendation from the independent Airports Commission for a new north-west runway at the hub.
London Heathrow's vision for its new northern runway
Grayling adds that London Heathrow's operator is the "only credible promoter" that could deliver the scheme, despite some stakeholders' suggestions that this aspect should be reviewed.
"This issue has been debated for half a century," says Grayling, adding that the decision is being taken "in the national interest".
The decision has yet to be put forward for a vote by members of parliament, which should take place in the next few weeks.
Over 80,000 responses were received during two national consultations last year, he says, and all the points made were "carefully considered".
"The time for action is now," he says. "Heathrow is already full and the remaining London airports won't be far behind."
Grayling says that the expansion will "bring real benefits across the country". He points out that 15% of slots will be used to facilitate domestic connections, and that regional connectivity was a key part of the decision-making process.