Stansted aims to add more than 10 million passengers a year after winning the green light to build a £130 million new arrivals terminal.

The three-level building will allow the Essex airport to grow from handling 24 million passengers a year to its current planning limit of 35 million and around 43 million if it made full use of its single runway.

It will take up to three years to complete once work begins late next year following the airport winning planning permission from Uttlesford District Council.

The development will mean that Stansted will be the only airport in the UK to operate dedicated departures and arrivals terminals.

The 34,000 square metre arrivals facility designed by architects Pascall+Watson will be situated next to the current terminal.

It will include larger immigration and baggage reclaim areas, new shops, improved access for onward transport options and a public forecourt.

The existing terminal will be reconfigured so that it is dedicated to departing passengers, providing more space at check-in, security and in the departure lounge.

The first phase of work will begin later this summer to create additional capacity in the short-term, including extra check-in desks, additional seating and restaurants in the departure lounge.

Construction of the dedicated arrivals building will take place entirely outside the current terminal, helping to minimise disruption to passengers.

Aviation minister Lord Ahmad said: “These plans signal the start of an exciting new chapter for Stansted airport, which already contributes £1 billion to the economy, and will help connect more passengers across the UK and throughout the world.

“Investment in our airports plays a key role in strengthening air links across the country, opening up new tourism and business opportunities and growing local economies.

“Plans for a dedicated arrivals building will ensure that Stansted can meet growing demand, improve the experience for passengers, create new jobs, and boost economic growth in the region.

“This is excellent news for the millions of passengers who travel through the airport each year.”

Airport chief executive, Andrew Cowan, said: “At a time when airport capacity in the country is at a premium, Stansted is playing a vital role in supporting both the regional and national economy.

“This project will strengthen our ability to do this by enabling us to make the most efficient use of our single runway.

“We will also be investing in other terminal improvements in the short term to keep pace with increased passenger and airline demand that we expect over the next few years.”