Norwegian Air International (D8, Dublin Int'l) is considering launching a direct flight between Dublin Int'l and Beijing Capital, pending approval from Russia for overflight rights, reports the Irish Independent. Chief executive Tore Jenssen told the news site that Dublin's new runway, set to open in 2021, would be long enough to allow the airline to launch the route using B787-9 metal. NAI is awaiting six of the type for delivery this year.

According to ch-aviation capacity data, there are currently no direct flights between Ireland and China, or anywhere else in eastern Asia.

However, new flights would be dependent on gaining approval from Russia for first freedom rights, a process which could be lengthy, with Jenssen saying it could take a "couple of years".

The Irish Times reports that Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines (HU, Haikou) is also considering a Beijing-Dublin route, and is in talks with the Dublin Airport Authority.

"It would be great for Ireland if both we and Hainan flew from Dublin to Beijing. Imagine the fares," Jenssen told the Independent. "I think there are plenty of Chinese who want to come to Ireland."

Tourism Ireland estimates that 50,000 people from China will visit Ireland in 2017.