Aer Lingus expects its U.S. service to be back in profit as soon as next year, the airline's CEO has stated.
Christoph Mueller said that the recovery in the transatlantic service was "very fast," and that while a return to profit in 2010 was unlikely, 2011 was looking good.
U.S. passenger revenue had fallen 20 percent in 2009.
"For the full year we do not expect a profit on long haul because we still have the winter schedule, which was published last year, with all that extra capacity.
"However, we hope that the run rate on long haul with regard to profit contribution will be similar to short haul; so we have a fairly good chance to enter positive territory next year or as soon as Ireland comes out of the recession," he said.
Ironically, the ash crisis ended up having a positive effect on Aer Lingus's code-share with United Airlines.
"Load factors were very high, due mainly to the fact that it was nearly the only transatlantic service operating during the ash crisis, indeed we had to upgrade one of our aircraft during that time," he said.