Chinese takeaway: Hainan axes Dublin route to Shenzhen
In a significant blow to efforts to cement air links between Ireland and Asia, China's Hainan Airlines is axing its route from Dublin to Shenzhen and suspending its Beijing service for the winter.
The Shenzhen service was inaugurated early this year and was intended to operate year-round. Hainan's route to Beijing was launched last year and was also intended to operate on a year-round basis.
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Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said Hainan's decision with the routes was "very regrettable", but was resolute that the agency will continue to "vigorously" market Ireland in China.
A spokesman for the DAA, which operates Dublin Airport, said the gateway was "disappointed that Hainan had decided to suspend the Beijing service for the winter and end its flights to Shenzhen, but understood that the decision was part of a wider programme of capacity reductions".
The route to Beijing has been operating four times a week during the summer, which included a non-stop service two days a week between Dublin and China's capital. On other days it operated via Edinburgh. It is believed the direct Dublin-Beijing leg had been 80pc full during the past three months.
Cathay Pacific continues to operate a direct service between Dublin and Hong Kong.