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Direct Dublin-Beijing flights to greatly boost bilateral ties

18 March 2018

Hainan, China's largest independent airline, will fly the route four times a week using an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, it says.

The planned flight times (local time) for the new Dublin-Beijing route are as follows: The direct Beijing-Dublin flights will operate on Thursdays and Sundays.

This announcement comes on top of Cathay Pacific confirming earlier this week that four non-stop flights per week from Dublin to Hong Kong will also begin in June.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney attended a reception at the Irish Embassy in Beijing where the new toute was announced. "Hainan Airlines have been a huge help and they must be congratulated for this innovative approach to tie the Celtic capitals of Edinburgh and Dublin into the route and open up these cities to the Chinese market".

Edinburgh is home to two giant pandas from China
Edinburgh is home to two giant pandas from China

"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", said Minister Coveney.

"This is a hugely significant announcement for the Irish economy", said Vincent Harrison, managing director of the Dublin airport.

Direct flights to China, with the enormous business and tourism potential they bring, have been in the works for years.

Establishing a direct flight has been seen as a major part of Irish efforts to boost trade with China.

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Tourism Ireland estimates that about 70,000 Chinese visitors came to the island of Ireland a year ago, up from 60,000 visitors in 2016.

The flights will be "a major game-changer" for Chinese visitors, Gibbons said.

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

The carrier will operate Beijing-Edinburgh-Dublin and Beijing-Dublin-Edinburgh on a twice-weekly basis for each service.

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The opening of direct Dublin-Beijing route is not only good news for Wang and the 5,000-plus other Chinese students who are now studying in Ireland, but also for people involved in bilateral trade and business.

Two-way trade between Ireland and China is estimated to be worth more than €14.9 billion per year, according to a statement by daa, with about 120,000 Irish passengers estimated to have travelled between the counties last year.

According to Xue, the trade volume between China and Ireland in 2017 hit a record of 11.05 billion USA dollars, up 37 percent over the previous year. He believed that direct Dublin-Beijing flights will definitely facilitate trips by businessmen from both sides.

Currently, there are almost 400 Irish companies in China while over 20 Chinese companies in Ireland, said Xue, adding that there is a big potential to be tapped for bilateral trade as the two economies are quite complementary to each other.

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Direct Dublin-Beijing flights to greatly boost bilateral ties