Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney TD welcomed the start of the first direct flights between Beijing and Dublin by Hainan Airlines.
Speaking today, the Tánaiste said: “During my St Patrick’s Day visit to China back in March, I was delighted to attend, with Hainan Airlines Chairman Bao Qifa, the joint route launch of the Beijing-Dublin route at the Embassy of Ireland. I am also delighted that Mr Qifa is in Dublin this week to mark the first flight.
“It is the first direct route to mainland China, as well as the first Irish destination in Hainan Airlines’ network. Together with the new route between Hong Kong and Dublin, which commenced earlier this month, it will further strengthen and deepen the excellent relationship between Ireland and China. I welcome that this new route will also add increased connectivity between Dublin and Edinburgh.
“These flights will further boost our business ties in both directions, cultural links, people-to-people links, and, very practically, make home that little bit closer for the many Irish living and working in China, as well as the large Chinese community here in Ireland. I know that our communities have enthusiastically welcomed the flight, and will support it over the coming years.
“I would like to encourage Ireland’s businesses involved in cargo, catering and the many other elements of the aviation supply chain to explore the new opportunities this new connection offers.
“Irish beef has recently entered the Chinese market, and together with dairy, pigmeat and seafood, which are already well established in Asia, there has never between a more direct route to market.
“Efforts to bring about this direct flight have been ongoing for the past four years, both in Dublin and in China, through the work of the Embassy of Ireland in Beijing, the Chinese Embassy here in Dublin, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and the Irish state agencies. I thank them for their effort and support.
“I would particularly like to congratulate Dublin Airport and Tourism Ireland, and wish them every success in sustaining and further developing this route and additional connectivity with China in the years ahead.”