Aer Lingus has won a huge new deal flying civil servants between Belfast and London.

The new deal means Aer Lingus will be the sole carrier for the Northern Ireland Civil Service for the next two years.

The contract with the British Government is expected to be worth about £500,000 ($850,000) per year.

Aer Lingus opened a new hub at Belfast International 18 months ago and is now considering adding a fourth daily flight to Heathrow.

This is some overdue good news for the carrier which recently announced that it would cut costs over the next three years by $500m.

Aer Lingus plans to achieve that size of cost-cutting by reducing its fleet size and delaying delivery of newer planes.

The new chief executive, Christoph Mueller, will take up his post early as part of the airline's continuing effort to keep costs down.