Minister Ross welcomes announcement of first direct scheduled passenger air service between Ireland and Asia

Thursday 31 August 2017

Speaking about today’s announcement Minister Ross said: “I very much welcome today’s announcement by Cathay Pacific that it has chosen Ireland as one of its new routes direct from Hong Kong from summer 2018. This will be the first ever direct scheduled passenger service between Ireland and anywhere in the Asia Pacific region.

Increasing competition and connectivity in air services in and out of Ireland, in particular to fast growing regions of the world, is a key priority of the Government’s aviation policy. I am confident that this is the first of many new routes over the coming years.”

Minister Ross added: “Ireland and Hong Kong share an open global outlook and both rely heavily on aviation links with the rest of the world. This new service will help foster the growing trade, tourism, education and cultural links between Ireland, Hong Kong, “Asia’s World City”, and the rest of China. The new service is of course very welcome news for the large communities of Irish in Hong Kong and the wider region as well as members of the Hong Kong and Chinese communities living in Ireland.”

Selling Ireland as a choice destination for global airlines, such as Cathay Pacific, is a collective effort of Government and a range of State agencies. Cathay’s decision to choose Ireland is a credit to the work of my Department, and that of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, headed by my Ministerial colleague Mr. Simon Coveney T.D., the Consulate General of Ireland in Hong Kong which opened in 2014, the Embassy of Ireland in Beijing and the wider Team Ireland in China including Tourism Ireland, and the state owned airports.”

It is important for the future of our tourism industry that Ireland attracts more visitors from new markets. Overall visitor numbers were up 3.1% in the first seven months this year, but visitors from outside of Europe and North America, were up by 17.5% showing the clear potential for growth in this area.

This new service from one of Asia’s largest airport hubs will facilitate travel from all over that continent and beyond. Cathay Pacific is an award winning airline that consistently ranks among the world’s best. It serves over 70 destinations all over the world from its hub in Hong Kong.

A Memorandum of Understanding in relation to air services was signed between Ireland and Hong Kong at a meeting in Dublin in 2000. The agreement facilitates air services between the two; however, this is the first announcement of scheduled passenger services operating under the agreement.

Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport 01 604 1090 / 01 604 1093

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