Hainan Airlines is to launch the first ever direct, nonstop flights between mainland China and the Irish and Scottish capitals later this year.

In what is being described as “an innovative flight model which links in three capital cities”, the four times weekly service will see flights routing Beijing-Dublin-Edinburgh-Beijing on Thursdays and Sundays, and Beijing-Edinburgh-Dublin-Beijing on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

The new flights will be operated by an Airbus A330-300 aircraft and will launch on June 12, a few days after Cathay Pacific is set to start flights between Hong Kong and Dublin.

CEO of Edinburgh airport Gordon Dewar said that the new service was the culmination of more than three years of work.

“This is a fantastic day for Edinburgh Airport and for Scotland as we connect Scotland and China for the first time, said Dewar. “We are two countries steeped in history and rich in culture, offering new destinations for people from both countries to visit and explore

“Edinburgh is second only to London as the most popular UK destination for Chinese tourists, and we have worked incredibly hard with partners across the city and country to get to this point.

“This is an incredibly exciting day for the airport, for the city and for the country. Tourism is one of our biggest economic drivers and still has masses of potential to unleash – let’s use this opportunity to drive it forward.”

Meanwhile Dublin Airport’s Managing Director Vincent Harrison called the move “a hugely significant announcement for the Irish economy”,

“Hainan’s new Dublin-Beijing route links not just our two capital cities, but also our two countries. It is great news for tourism and trade and this improved connectivity will create new jobs throughout Ireland,” added Harrison.

According to Hainan Airlines, the schedule for the new service is as follows:

Flight No. From To Departs Arrives Days
HU749 Beijing (PEK) Edinburgh (EDI) 0130 0600 Tue, Sat
Edinburgh (EDI) Dublin (DUB) 0800 0910
HU750 Dublin (DUB) Beijing (PEK) 1110 0500+1
HU751 Beijing (PEK) Dublin (DUB) 0130 0600 Thu, Sun
Dublin (DUB) Edinburgh (EDI) 0800 0910
HU752 Edinburgh (EDI) Beijing (PEK) 1110 0500+1