Dublin Airport announces direct flights to Hong Kong
Ireland’s first direct Asia-Pacific route
Ireland is to get its first ever direct Asia-Pacific air route, with the announcement of new flights to Hong Kong from Dublin Airport.
Cathay Pacific will operate a new, four-times weekly service from June 2, 2018.
The Dublin flight will be serviced by an Airbus A350-900 aircraft in a three-class configuration, operating on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The airline announced details of the historic service today, alongside two new non-stop routes from Hong Kong to Brussels and Copenhagen.
Return fares are currently priced from €642 on cathaypacific.com.
“We are thrilled to welcome Cathay Pacific to Dublin Airport and to Ireland,” said Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison.
“Dublin Airport is competing for routes like this with other major European airports, so winning this new business is hugely positive news for Ireland, for foreign direct investment, for Irish exporters, and for inbound tourism,” he added.
Rupert Hogg, Cathay's Chief Executive Officer, said:
“We’re excited to offer the only direct flights between Hong Kong and Dublin."
“Dublin is a fantastic destination and attracts business and leisure travellers from the world over. We listened to our customers’ demands for more options and greater flexibility and have responded by building direct air links with this great city.”
The route is a major milestone, with trade between Ireland and China now worth more than €8 billion per annum and some 100 Irish firms with operations there.
Direct flights between the two countries have been discussed for years, with Hainan Airlines reportedly close to finalising scheduling on services to Beijing.
Hong Kong is first out of the traps, however.
The new flights follow a complex collaborative effort involving daa, Tourism Ireland, the Irish Embassy in China, the Consulate in Hong Kong and other stakeholders such as IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia.
"This new service will help foster the growing trade, tourism, education and cultural links between Ireland, Hong Kong, 'Asia’s World City', and the rest of China," said Tourism Minister Shane Ross, welcoming the news.
Meanwhile, Dublin Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Rose Burke said the route "opens up a whole new world of opportunities for Irish businesses" and a gateway into "the increasingly lucrative Chinese market."
An estimated 4,000 Irish people live in Hong Kong, according to the Irish Embassy in China. The route is also expected to boost inbound tourism from China - one of the world's fastest-growing markets.
“Today’s announcement is good news for Irish tourism as we plan for 2018 and beyond, and continue the roll out of our market diversification strategy in light of the UK’s decision to exit the EU," commented Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland.
In summer, the flight will depart Dublin at 11.55, arriving in Hong Kong at 07.05. The return flight will depart Hong Kong at 00.50, arriving in Dublin at 06.45.
In winter, departures from Dublin will be at 11.00, arriving in Hong Kong at 07.30. The return flight will depart Hong Kong at 00.15 and arrive in Dublin at 05.30.
The route will also connect travellers to Cathay Pacific's Asian networks, as well as those of its short-haul subsidiary, Cathay Dragon, including onward flights to mainland China, Japan, Korea, South-East Asia and Australia.
More than 16.9 million passengers have travelled through Dublin Airport in the first seven months of the year, a 6pc increase on the same period in 2016.
It also recently added direct flights to Doha, Qatar.
NB: This story is being updated.