Minister Ross welcomes first direct air service to mainland China

Thursday 15 March 2018

Mr. Shane Ross, TD welcomed today’s announcement by Hainan Airlines of its plans to launch a Beijing-Dublin service commencing on the 12th of June 2018, the first direct service from Ireland to mainland China.

“The Government, my Department, the Irish Embassy in Beijing and a number of State agencies, including Tourism Ireland, have taken numerous steps in recent years to support the introduction of direct air services between Ireland and mainland China.

I am delighted that these efforts, including the new Memorandum of Understanding on aviation matters that I signed with the head of China’s aviation authority in September 2016, have come to fruition.”

A total of 129 million Chinese people travelled overseas in 2017, making China the world’s largest outbound travel market, for the fifth year in a row. Hainan Airlines’ decision to introduce this new service opens up significant opportunities for the Irish tourism sector, which experienced a 46% increase in visitors from China between 2016 and 2017. China is an important and growing market for Ireland’s tourism sector for the years ahead. 

“As an island nation on the periphery of Europe the aviation sector plays a crucial role in facilitating social and economic activity in Ireland. I am delighted that the Tánaiste, representatives from daa, Tourism Ireland and the Embassy were in a position to be in Beijing for today’s historic announcement. A direct service between the capital cities of both countries represents an important development in furthering links between our two countries. It is particularly noteworthy that the new service will begin in time for the peak tourist season this summer.

This service will be a further boost in connectivity and passenger numbers for Dublin Airport, which is already experiencing significant growth levels with over 34.7 million passengers passing through the airport in 2017.” the Minister said. 

In order to facilitate continued growth through Ireland’s busiest airport, last year daa announced plans to proceed with the development of a new runway, which is expected to be operational by 2020.

“The new runway will provide much needed additional capacity at the airport and facilitate the expansion of existing services and addition of new routes thereby further enhancing Ireland’s connectivity.

One of the primary aims of the National Aviation Policy (NAP) is to increase Ireland’s connectivity. Today’s announcement by Hainan Airlines is a clear indication that the NAP and policy framework is working as intended.” the Minister concluded. 

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

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