First direct air route between Dublin and China on cards with Hainan Airlines move
Published 21/06/2016 | 14:01
The first ever direct air route between Dublin and China is on the cards, with Hainan Airlines closely examining the potential for a service.
Hainan Airlines is part of the huge Chinese conglomerate HNA, a Fortune 500 company whose activities stretch from aviation to hotels and shipping to technology.
In Dublin today, HNA chief operating officer William Zhang confirmed that a service from Dublin to China is under serious consideration. Hainan Airlines has just launched a route between Manchester and Beijing. Mr Zhang said that Dublin is now being analysed to see if sufficient demand exists for a route from the Irish capital to China.
Government agencies such as the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Tourism Ireland have been pushing for a direct route to China for a number of years.
Senior HNA executives have been in Dublin for the past few days, and held a meeting at the Chinese embassy to discuss the route potential.
HNA acquired Irish aircraft leasing firm Avolon last year. Avolon chief executive and co-founder Domhnal Slattery said today that he'd be hopeful the route to China will be launched.
It would be a major coup for the DAA, which controls Dublin and Cork airports.