Dublin-Beijing air route set to launch
A long-awaited air service between Dublin and Beijing could start this June.
China's Hainan Airlines has applied for permission to its civil aviation authority to operate flights between the cities starting in summer.
The twice weekly service is slated to operate from Beijing to Edinburgh and then Dublin on one day, and Beijing to Dublin and then Edinburgh on another day.
However, aviation sources have previously said that a direct Beijing-Dublin service might materialise reasonably quickly if passenger traffic between the cities justifies it.
Hainan Airlines, which is part of the HNA conglomerate that also controls Dublin-based aircraft lessor Avolon, has made the application to operate the route to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
The launch of the flights will be a significant feather in the cap of the DAA, which operates Dublin Airport, as well as the IDA, Tourism Ireland and other agencies. They've all heavily lobbied Chinese authorities to introduce a service.
"Dublin Airport is always in talks with a number of airlines about potential new routes, but we do not comment on whether or not we are in discussions with a specific airline," said a DAA spokesman.
Last year, Hainan also applied for permission to operate flights between Dublin and Shenzhen via Brussels. Shenzhen is located just 27km from downtown Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific is launching flights between Dublin and Hong Kong in June.
That would almost certainly mean that Hainan will not actually operate the Shenzhen-Brussels-Dublin route, at least in the near term.