The project, which is expected to cost £10m-£20m, will replace the 40-year-old air traffic control centre on top of an old office block.
Air traffic control facilities will move to the stand alone, purpose-built building, with the base housing a new equipment centre and offices.
The top of the tower carry a new visual control room when completed in 2013 for the first time giving controllers 360-degree panoramic views of the entire airfield.
At present, cameras are used by controllers to assist with the view to the furthest runway end.
Tim McDermott, Manchester Airport’s operations director, said: “This new air traffic control tower will offer 21st century facilities that will be a fantastic new addition to the Manchester skyline.
“It will further strengthen our great relationship with NATS and I am very pleased to be working together to create what will be an iconic building.”
Paul Jones, of NATS said: “This is fantastic news for Manchester Airport and the air traffic control team.
“It will introduce new technology and new ways of working, making the Manchester control tower one of the most advanced operations in Europe and offering a platform to develop into the future.