A MAJOR transport, tourism and business link to the Middle East has been cemented today with the inaugural Emirates flight from Dubai to Dublin.
`The Irish capital is the airline's 118th destination worldwide, opening up a new route to key markets in Australia, India, Thailand, China and the Philippines.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, who travelled on the flight, said the link will be a huge boost for tourism, business and aviation.
"It also considerably improves connectivity with India, Australia and New Zealand, which should result in a further increase in tourism numbers from these countries," he said.
The minister said Tourism Ireland and the Dublin Airport Authority are working with Emirates to promote the route.
Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said completion of the Dublin-Dubai link is a tremendous development for both Irish business and tourism.
"We are now connecting Ireland not only to Dubai, but also to over 100 destinations throughout the world. Solid early bookings have demonstrated that the demand is there, opening up new markets for passengers and cargo to and from the Republic," he said.
Emirates will serve Dublin daily with an A330-200. The airline is the largest A380 operator in the world with 20 double-deckers in the fleet and has another 70 on order.