Hainan Airlines, a major airline in China, opened a direct flight route from China's southern city of Shenzhen to the Irish capital of Dublin on Monday to meet the needs of the increasing exchanges between the two countries.
A ceremony to mark the inaugural flight service between the two cities was held at Terminal One of Dublin Airport on Monday morning, attended by Yue Xiaoyong, the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, as well as officials from Hainan Airlines and Dublin Airport Authority.
Operating twice a week on Mondays and Fridays by a 289-seat Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner, the Shenzhen-Dublin route is the second of its kind ever opened by Hainan Airlines between China and Ireland and the airline's third that connects the two countries.
On June 12, 2018, Hainan Airlines opened its first direct flight service from Beijing to Dublin, consisting of two non-stop flights per week between the two cities, as well as two weekly flights with a layover at Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh.
Earlier in the same month, Cathay Pacific, a Hong Kong-based airline, began a non-stop flight service between Hong Kong and Dublin.
The three direct flight routes launched between Ireland and China in such a short space of time reflect the fast-growing relationship between the two countries, said Vincent Harrison, Dublin Airport's Managing Director.
He believes the new service launched by Hainan Airlines will help further promote trade, tourism, and people-to-people communications between the two countries.
China-Ireland trade set a record high of 14.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, up 31.23 percent from a year ago, according to China's official statistics.
In 2017, Ireland received an estimated 90,000 visitors from China, said James Kenny, a manager of the China section of Tourism Ireland. He added that Tourism Ireland aimed to embrace 175,000 more Chinese visitors per year by 2025.
(With input from Xinhua News Agency)