Dublin and Beijing in airport pact
The Dublin Airport Authority and Beijing Airport have signed a twinning agreement which could potentially help boost the air link between the two countries.
The Republic's deputy prime minister Eamon Gilmore, in China for a trade mission, said that the signed memorandum of understanding means that the airport authorities can work together to try and secure a direct air connection between Dublin and Beijing.
In the medium term, it marks the next step in talks for a possible follow-on flight to Dublin from a Beijing to Gatwick service.
Mr Gilmore described the signing as very significant.
"One of the things that we want to encourage is direct air links between China and Ireland,'' Mr Gilmore said.
"The fact that the two airport authorities have now signed a memorandum of understanding means the two airports can work together with the airlines to try and secure a direct connection.''
More than 30,000 passengers per year fly between Dublin and Beijing. DAA chief executive Kevin Toland described the signing as a significant step forward in the two airports' mutual desire to have improved air connections.