The decision to grant planning permission for the new runway, made jointly by environment secretary John Gummer, and George Young, was announced in a parliamentary answer by Mr Gummer.
George Young commented:
'This is very good news for Manchester Airport and for the civil aviation industry as a whole.
'Manchester Airport's second runway will be the first full-length runway to be built in the UK for 20 years. It is a very large airport project and the planning application was the subject of a long and thorough public inquiry which carefully weighed the arguments.
'The secretary of state for the environment and I, in considering the Inspector's recommendation to go ahead, had to balance the benefits which the new runway would bring to airlines and passengers against the environmental effects of the project.
'The inspector considered that the overall quality of the landscape and habitat mitigation package was impressive and we had no doubt that we should accept his recommendation for planning permission to be granted.
'Passenger demand will outstrip existing runway capacity in the next few years at Manchester. A second runway will allow this growing demand to be met there, to the benefit of business and leisure passengers alike.
'When the second runway comes into use, Manchester will be able to handle 63 movements per hour, compared with the 45 movements per hour it will accommodate in the peak periods next summer.
'The second runway will also contribute to relieving capacity constraints at the airports in the South East.'