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After years of planning and efforts by Irish tourism, Dublin Airport is finally connected to the Chinese capital as  Hainan Airlines’ new direct service to Beijing took off.

Hainan will operate Dublin to Beijing direct year-round with an Airbus A330 aircraft on Tuesdays and Saturdays and via Edinburgh on Thursdays and Sundays.

Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison said it was a historic day. “We have worked really hard to bring this direct route to Ireland and today is the result of many years of dialogue. I would like to thank a wide range of other bodies such as Irish Embassy in China, our colleagues at Tourism Ireland and other key stakeholders such as IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia, all of whom helped to get us to the launch.

Hainan Airlines cabin crew Jonny Yang & Joy Zhang with Dublin Airport Senior Vice President Aviation Business Development Jon Woolf and Hainan Airlines Sales & Marketing Director Frank Shi Zhiwei at the launch of the new Dublin to Beijing direct service.

“Trade between Ireland and China is hugely important for our economy and it is currently estimated to be worth more than €14.9bn per year. Ireland is also home to more than 5,000 Chinese students attending Irish educational institutions. This new direct service makes travelling between the capital cities of Ireland and China much easier and I have no doubt it will be popular for both business and leisure travellers. We will work closely with Hainan Airlines to market the new route.”

Hainan Airlines Chairman Bao Quifa said “We are delighted to launch this first ever direct route between Dublin and Beijing and we are very proud that Hainan Airlines will play a central role in forging greater friendship and cooperation between our two countries. We look forward to welcoming many Irish and Chinese guests on board our five-star Skytrax service.”

Tourism Ireland estimates that about 70,000 Chinese visitors came to the island of Ireland last year, up from 60,000 visitors in 2016. China is the world’s largest outbound travel market, and one of the fastest-growing, with trips from China predicted to grow to 200 million per year by 2020.

READ  Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport up 13pc in first 6 months of 2016

Hainan Airlines carried almost 72 million passengers to 110 destinations last year on a fleet of 300 aircraft. It is part of the Chinese-based global HNA Group, which also owns the Dublin-based aircraft leasing business Avolon.

  • The direct Beijing-Dublin flights will operate on Thursdays and Sundays. Flights will depart Beijing at 01:30, arriving in Dublin at 06:00. The direct Dublin-Beijing service will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays and will depart Dublin Airport at 11:10, arriving in Beijing at 05:00 the following day.
  • The Beijing-Edinburgh-Dublin service will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Flights will depart Beijing at 01:30, arriving in Dublin at 09:10 via Edinburgh. The Dublin-Edinburgh-Beijing service will operate on Thursdays and Sundays, departing at 08:00 and arriving in Beijing via Edinburgh at 05:00 the following day. 
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