Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones has announced his government intends to purchase Cardiff Airport from current owners TBI.
Jones said an agreement had been struck in principle, with the government set to complete the deal in early 2013.
The airport will not be subsidised by the government, and is expected to make a profit for the Welsh government, Jones added.
Jones said: “Over the past 12 months, I have repeatedly emphasised the importance to Wales of a dynamic international gateway airport in Cardiff.
“During the course of the year we have developed a very constructive and positive relationship with TBI.
“Together we have been discussing how best to develop the airport to position it for the challenges ahead.”
The airfield at Rhoose in the Vale of Glamorgan was built in 1941.
Control was transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the former Glamorgan County Council in 1965, and then to its three successor councils of West, Mid and South Glamorgan in the 1970s.
The airport was privatised in 1995, with TBI now owned mainly by the Spanish company Abertis with a minority stake held by the Spanish airports operator AENA.