Dublin is to get its first direct flights to Asia from next year

The Dublin-Hong Kong service will run four times a week

Dublin is to get its first direct flights to Asia from next year

A Cathay Pacific A350-900 aircraft | Image: Dublin Airport

An airline is to launch a direct year-round service between Dublin and Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific has announced that it will operate the service four times per week from next June.

It will be Dublin Airport's first ever direct route to the Asia-Pacific region.

The daa says it is "a major milestone" for the airport and the Irish economy.

Dublin Airport managing director Vincent Harrison said: "We are thrilled to welcome Cathay Pacific to Dublin Airport and to Ireland.

"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".

Cathay Pacific chief executive Rupert Hogg added: "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".

Trade between Ireland and China is worth more than €8bn per year, and almost 100 Irish firms have operations in China.

Currently about 40,000 people per year travel between Dublin and Hong Kong - while an estimated 4,000 Irish people live in Hong Kong, according to the Irish embassy in China.

Hong Kong will provide a wide range of connecting options - with flights to mainland China, Japan, Korea, South-East Asia and Australia on the Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon networks.

Cathay Pacific will operate the new service with an Airbus A350-900 aircraft from June 2nd, 2018.