The boss of Beijing's international airport has confirmed plans to establish a direct air route between Dublin and the Chinese capital.
But it is likely the air link will not come on stream for another three years.
Shi Boli, the general manager of Beijing's airport, confirmed that the route to Dublin is on his radar, along with an additional direct service to Manchester.
The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and Ireland's state business and tourism agencies have long been pushing for a direct link from Ireland to China.
The 2012 visit of China's now president, Xi Jinping, significantly raised the profile of Ireland in China. Earlier this year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang came to Ireland for a two-day visit.
A spokesman for the airport said the DAA does not comment on whether or not it is in discussions with specific airlines in relation to potential new services.