A new £45m terminal building has opened at Bournemouth Airport in the face of falling passenger numbers.
The building has been one of the biggest construction projects ever undertaken in Dorset and is expected to handle 900,000 passengers this year.
It was built to cope with three million passengers by 2015 but the airport accepts this target will not be met.
Operations director Paul Knight blamed the recent drop in passenger numbers at the airport on economic events.
The expansion is expected to create more than 1,900 jobs by 2015, the airport said.
Mr Knight added: "The worldwide recession through numerous events has hit aviation throughout the world.
"It means that the target has now been referred for a number of years."
But Mr Knight said the airport had still been in desperate need of an upgrade.
"What we had, as locals described it, was 'quaint' and well past its sell by date," he said.
"It needed to be upgraded and we are now providing facilities as good, if not better, than many of the airports in the country and we are proud of what we are offering."
The new terminal building, which replaces the old facilities, is twice the size of the old building and took 18 months to complete.
It will also see retail and catering space at the site tripled.