Development plans were scaled down after calls for a public inquiry
Tourism bosses in Cumbria have been told that passenger flights could be operating at a revamped Carlisle Airport by the end of 2010.
Carlisle City Council has backed owners Stobart Air's plans to expand freight services and introduce passenger flights at the former airfield site.
Airport director Andy Judge told a meeting of tourism officials he was confident operators could be found.
It is hoped the redeveloped airport will boost the county's economy.
Mr Judge said: "My job is to ensure that the redevelopment of the airport gets under way as soon as possible.
"We hope passenger flights will begin in late 2010 or early 2011.
"In conjunction with that work we will be talking to airlines and getting them to work with us to deliver those flights."
Ian Stephens, chief executive of Cumbria Tourism, said: "It is a wonderful plan that will mean the Stobart Group relocating their north Cumbria base here.
"There will also be other economic development around the airport, possibly a hotel."
The airport development will see the runway, which dates back to the 1940s, refurbished and improvements to buildings and freight facilities.