Saturday 27 May 2017

First direct air route between Dublin and China on cards with Hainan Airlines move

Shanghai from the river. Photo: Deposit
Shanghai from the river. Photo: Deposit
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

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.

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