Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

First direct flights from Dublin to Beijing to start in June

First direct flights from Dublin to Beijing to start in June First direct flights from Dublin to Beijing to start in June
Russell Knight | 16 March, 2018, 01:43

The route will be operated by China's biggest independent airline, Hainan Airlines and will begin operations on June 12.

The direct route was announced by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, who is in Beijing as part of a St Patrick's Day visit to China to promote trade links.

He added: "As an island destination, we know the importance of direct, non-stop flights can not be overstated; there's a proven direct correlation between access and growth in visitor numbers, so this new flight will be a major game-changer in growing visitor numbers from China".

Coveney commented on the launch of the new route: "This first ever direct route to mainland China and the first Irish destination in Hainan Airlines' global network is a major achievement, which will prove transformational to the bilateral relationship between China and Ireland". "They have massive potential to expand both tourism and business between Ireland and China", Mr Coveney told The Irish Times.

The flights will operate four times per week - two non-stop services, and two services with a brief stopover in Edinburgh. Hainan, which has seven existing routes between China and western Europe, will operate its new Irish service with an Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

Dublin Airport managing director Vincent Harrison said the flight was "hugely significant" for the Irish economy.

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Hainan Airlines will operate from Dublin to Beijing while Cathay Pacific will connect Hong Kong with the Irish capital. "It is great news for tourism and trade and this improved connectivity will create new jobs throughout Ireland", Mr Harrison added.

The direct flight time to China is around 11 hours.

Last year, about 120,000 passengers travelled between Ireland and mainland China, with journeys to and from Beijing accounting for more than a quarter of those trips.

Two-way trade between Ireland and China is now estimated to be worth more than €14.9 billion a year. Most of that increase comes from Irish exports, and Ireland is one of only three European Union countries with a trade surplus with China, in both goods and services.

Tourism Ireland estimates that approximately 70,000 Chinese visited the island of Ireland in 2017.

"We're going from a position where you couldn't fly direct to China to now having two flights, both starting in June, both with the capacity to carry about 60,000 people per year".

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