Conservative ministers pledged to radically increase the number of flights to and from Scotland as they confirmed plans to build a third runway at Heathrow.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said that “slots for Scotland” were a crucial part of the project.

Mr Mundell said that Government figures showed that the number of flights between Scotland and Heathrow have fallen by almost a quarter over the last 10 years.

Minsters ministers aimed to return flight numbers to "at least" what they were a decade ago, he added.

The long-delayed decision raises the prospect of a new direct flight to Prestwick as well as increased services to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness airports.

Slots for routes deemed less commercial could also be “ringfenced”, and given state aid to make them viable, if necessary.

Ministers predicted that the new runway could also lead to increased competition and a fall in the price of flights from Scottish airports as well as opening up new routes and destinations.

Mr Mundell, who was part of the cabinet committee which unanimously backed the Heathrow option over its rival Gatwick, said: “This is one matter on which the UK and Scottish Governments are in complete agreement, both recognising the importance of this decision and that the Heathrow option works best for Scotland”.

Scottish Economy Secretary Keith Brown said that the decision would bring “significant benefits” to Scotland.

The Scottish Government estimates that the project could create around 16,000 Scottish jobs.

Across the UK the move is estimate to be worth £61 billion and create up to 77,000 jobs over the next 14 years.

Business leaders, including from the CBI and Institute of Directors, welcomed the decision and called for the runway to be built as soon as possible.

But the announcement was condemned by green campaigners who said the UK needed to cut its energy use, not expand airport capacity.

Heathrow has said that it will investigate the use of Prestwick airport as a potential site for a logistics hub for building the third runway.

While the Scottish Government welcomed the decision, the SNP’s transport spokesman at Westminster Drew Hendry warned that the move would also be of "disproportionate benefit to the south east of England and London. The UK government must ensure that when this does eventually get approval Scotland gets a fair deal from the process. We should see a commitment on route investment, guarantees to Scottish cities and an equitable share of any public spending that might be accrued coming to Scotland.”

Prime Minister Theresa May said the decision had been made to help the economy and ensure the UK’s success post-Brexit.

But campaign groups including Greenpeace vowed to fight the construction of a third runway.

The Scottish Greens John Finnie attacked the SNP for supporting the construction of a third runway.

Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Mike Rumbles accused the SNP of having “ utterly failed to square their backing for Heathrow with their climate change commitments and ambition to reduce environmentally damaging short-haul flights”.

MPs will not vote on the decision for at least another year.

Downing Street insist the delay is necessary to allow to for consultation and avoid a potential legal challenge.

Paul Drechsler, CBI President, said the decision would show the world the UK was open for business in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Stuart Patrick, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said: “We have long championed the expansion of Heathrow as the UK’s hub airport, and are convinced it is the best decision for Glasgow, for Scotland and for the UK as a whole.

“The Heathrow service is the most popular of the 110 routes from Glasgow Airport, carrying 870,000 passengers a year, with 40 per cent of those travelling further abroad.

“For businesses across Scotland, it will mean the opportunity of getting our goods and services to new customers in every corner of the world, with access to up to 40 new long haul destinations.”