Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien has welcomed the announcement from Cathay Pacific that it is to operate a new route from Dublin Airport to Hong Kong.

This weeks announcement follows news earlier this summer that Qatar Airways are to introduce a daily direct flight from Dublin to Doha.

He said, “A lot of effort has gone in to strengthening Ireland’s trading relationship with China in recent years and is now worth a considerable amount with exports exceeding expectations.

“The new direct flight between Ireland and Hong Kong will undoubtedly enhance and increase commercial links between Ireland and Hong Kong.

“A significant number of Irish firms employ thousands of people to operate their base in Hong Kong; this direct service will improve the connectability of both countries.

“Welcoming a new airline operator to Dublin airport provides passengers with a choice to fly to a unique destination and allow other travellers transfer onwards to other Cathay Pacific routes.

“The introduction of these flights will go a huge way towards growing the number of Chinese visitors in Ireland each year.

“According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, China is one of the world’s largest outbound travel markets. In fact some 100 million Chinese people travel overseas each year, spending about $165 billion.

He concluded, “In this regard, it will be wonderful for Ireland to benefit from today’s announcement.”