Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) chief executive Eamonn Brennan is set take charge at Europe's air safety and navigation body from next year.
Mr Brennan has been appointed director general of Eurocontrol, the organisation that is developing a Europe-wide air traffic management system.
He will take up his new role in January and serve a five-year term. The IAA will begin seeking a successor this summer.
Eurocontrol has 41 members, stretching from the Republic in the west to Turkey and Armenia in the east, and from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean.
The Government nominated Mr Brennan to the role. Anne Nolan, chairwoman of the IAA, congratulated him on Friday.
" This is a very prestigious position and a great reflection on his character and competencies as an aviation leader who is admired and respected throughout Europe, " she said.
Mr Brennan began working for the IAA when the Government established it in the 1990s. He joined as commercial director of the organisation.
The authority is responsible for aviation safety, air traffic control and navigation through the Republic's air space, through which most transatlantic flights pass. The body regulates airlines, including Europe's largest, Ryanair.
The United Nations Civil Aviation Organisation has consistently ranked IAA in the top four, ahead of the equivalent UK and US authorities.
Mr Brennan thanked the State and Eurocontrol’s permanent commission for appointing him.