Hainan Airlines will launch a new, year-round direct service between Dublin and Shenzhen later this month, Dublin Airport has announced.
Hainan will operate two flights a week between the cities from February 25, using a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner with a 289 seat configuration.
It is the third new service directly linking Ireland and China in the past year.
Hainan already flies between Dublin and Beijing, a route which returns to four-times weekly this summer, while Cathay Pacific flies direct to Hong Kong.
“Shenzhen is China’s answer to Silicon Valley,” said Vincent Harrison, the airport’s Managing Director. “This new route will further increase trade, tourism and investment between Ireland and China.”
It comes as outbound travel from China is booming, with the country expected to see 200 million travellers a year by 2020.
Around 90,000 Chinese visited Ireland in 2017, the last year for which full figures are available, and Fáilte Ireland is running a ‘Get China Ready’ programme aimed at helping businesses adapt to the needs of this distinct market.
Shenzhen, in south-eastern China, was one of the world’s fastest-growing cities in recent decades and has a population of about 13 million. The city is a 30-40-minute bullet train ride away from Hong Kong and Guangzhou, and was ranked second in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities to visit in 2019.
Lonely Planet described it as “China’s most innovative city” with “a strumming indie-music scene, cool cafes, a small contingent of craft brewers and a whole new arts district risen from the remains of former warehouses”.
The flight is one of 20 new routes set for Dublin this year. Last year was a record one for the airport, which welcomed 31.5 million passengers – up 6pc on 2017.
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