- The planned flight times for the new Hong Kong route (all times local):
- In summer, the flight will depart Dublin at 11.55, arriving in Hong Kong at 07.05
- The return flight will depart Hong Kong at 00.50, arriving in Dublin at 06.45
- In winter, the flight will depart Dublin at 11.00, arriving in Hong Kong at 07.30
- The return flight will depart Hong Kong at 00.15 and arrive in Dublin at 05.30.
Ireland is to finally get a direct service to the China area – but Cathay Pacific has beaten front-runner Hainan Airlines and has announced a Dublin-Hong Kong service four times per week from next June. The new year-round service will be Dublin Airport’s first ever direct route to the Asia-Pacific region.
There has been increased speculation that Hainan wouuld operate a direct service from Dublin to Beijing, a route that’s high on the agenda for Tourism Ireland and Irish industry. The Cathay Pacific route will also offer onward connections in south-east Asia. About 40,000 people per year travel between Dublin and Hong Kong, but this is expected to grow with the opening of the new direct service. An estimated 4,000 Irish people live in Hong Kong, according to the Irish Embassy in China.
“Dublin Airport is competing for routes like this with other major European airports, so winning this new business is hugely positive news for Ireland, for foreign direct investment, for Irish exporters, and for inbound tourism,” said Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison.
“This historic new route brings direct flights from Ireland to Hong Kong for the first time and also offers excellent onward connections via Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong hub,” Mr Harrison said.
“We’re excited to offer the only direct flights between Hong Kong and Dublin,” said Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Officer Rupert Hogg. “Dublin is a fantastic destination and attracts business and leisure travellers from the world over. We listened to our customers’ demands for more options and greater flexibility and have responded by building direct air links with this great city.”
Winning the landmark new route was a collaborative effort over several years that included a wide range of other bodies, sad Mr Harrison. “We would like to thank the Irish Embassy in China, the Consulate in Hong Kong, our colleagues at Tourism Ireland and other key stakeholders such as IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia.”
The Dublin flight will arrive in Hong Kong early in the morning local time, providing a wide range of connecting options with flights to mainland China, Japan, Korea, South-East Asia and Australia on the Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon networks.
Cathay Pacific will operate the new Dublin-Hong Kong service with an Airbus A350-900 aircraft in a three class configuration. Starting June 2, 2018, the route will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Cathay Pacific, which is part of the oneworld alliance, has flights to 197 destinations in 48 countries and territories. It operates a fleet of 144 aircraft with orders for a further 53 aircraft for delivery until 2024. Its short-haul subsidiary Cathay Dragon flies to 56 destinations in mainland China and other Asian countries.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s announcement is good news for Irish tourism as we plan for 2018 and beyond, continue the roll out of our market diversification strategy in light of the UK’s decision to exit the EU, and seek to implement the findings of our recent Developing Markets review. The new Cathay Pacific service will help further to open up important tourism and business opportunities for Ireland in Hong Kong and China, in Australia and New Zealand and across the Asia Pacific region.
“In 2016, over 600,000 visitors from Australia and Developing Markets came to the island of Ireland, an increase of 4pc on the previous year. Recent CSO data confirms that tourism from this region is performing very strongly, with growth of 17.pc% recorded for the first seven months of 2017.”