Update 2.20pm: Dublin Airport’s first ever direct route to the Asia-Pacific region will operate a new direct to Hong Kong service four times per week from next June with Cathay Pacific.
"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.
"This historic new route brings direct flights from Ireland to Hong Kong for the first time and also offers excellent onward connections via Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong hub."
Dublin Airport is "continuing to add significant new airline customers and new routes, providing passengers with increased choice and convenience."
Currently about 40,000 people per year travel between Dublin and Hong Kong, but this is expected to grow with the opening of the new direct service.
"We’re excited to offer the only direct flights between Hong Kong and Dublin," said Rupert Hogg, Cathay Pacific CEO.
"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.
"We would like to thank the Irish Embassy in China, the Consulate in Hong Kong, our colleagues at Tourism Ireland and other key stakeholders such as IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia."
Cathay Pacific will operate the new Dublin-Hong Kong service with an Airbus A350-900 aircraft in a three class configuration. Starting June 2, 2018, the route will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Update 1.50pm: News of Dublin's first flights to Asia has been welcomed today.
"Increasing competition and connectivity in air services in and out of Ireland, in particular to fast growing regions of the world, is a key priority of the Government’s aviation policy. I am confident that this is the first of many new routes over the coming years," said Minister Shane Ross.
"Ireland and Hong Kong share an open global outlook and both rely heavily on aviation links with the rest of the world. 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.
"The new service is of course very welcome news for the large communities of Irish in Hong Kong and the wider region as well as members of the Hong Kong and Chinese communities living in Ireland."
Tourism Ireland said the new flights will help to boost leisure and business travel from Hong Kong.
"Today’s announcement is good news for Irish tourism as we plan for 2018 and beyond, continue the roll out of our market diversification strategy in light of the UK’s decision to exit the EU, and seek to implement the findings of our recent Developing Markets review," said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland.
"The new Cathay Pacific service will help further to open up important tourism and business opportunities for Ireland in Hong Kong and China, in Australia and New Zealand and across the Asia Pacific region."
"We look forward to working closely with Cathay Pacific, Dublin Airport Authority and other tourism interests, to maximise the promotion of this new service to Dublin. As an island, the importance of air and sea access cannot be overstated – they are critical to achieving growth in visitor numbers."
Earlier:Dublin is to get its first direct flights to Asia from next year.
Cathay Pacific has announced it will operate a four-times weekly service to Hong Hong.
The Dublin Airport Authority has called it "a major milestone" for the airport and the economy.
The routes will operate from June 2, 2018, offering connections to China, Japan and Australia.