DUBLIN, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Hainan Airlines, a major airliner in China, on Monday opened a direct flight service from China's southern city of Shenzhen to the Irish capital of Dublin to meet the needs of the increasing exchanges between the two countries.
A ceremony to mark the inaugural flight service between the two cities was held at Terminal One of Dublin Airport on Monday morning, attended by the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland Yue Xiaoyong and officials from Hainan Airlines and Dublin Airport Authority.
Operating twice a week on Mondays and Fridays by a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner with 289 seats, the Shenzhen-Dublin route is the second of its kind ever opened by Hainan Airlines between China and Ireland and the third of its kind that connects the two countries.
On June 12, 2018, Hainan Airlines opened its first direct flight service from Beijing to Dublin, which consists of two non-stop flights a week between the two capitals and two weekly flights with a stopover in Edinburgh of Britain.
Earlier in the same month, Cathay Pacific, a Hong Kong-based airliner, opened a non-stop flight service between Hong Kong and Dublin.
The three direct flight routes launched between Ireland and China in "such a short space of time" reflects the fast-growing links between our two countries, said Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison.
He believes the new service launched by Hainan Airlines will help to further promote the trade, tourism and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
China-Ireland trade set a record high of 14.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, up 31.23 percent from a year ago, according to the China's official statistics.
In 2017, Ireland received an estimated 90,000 visitors from China, said James Kenny, a manager of the China section of Tourism Ireland, adding that Tourism Ireland aims to grow Chinese visitor numbers to 175,000 per year by 2025.