Direct flights will be available from Dublin to the Far East for the first time with the announcement of a new year-round route to Hong Kong. 

The flights, operated by Cathay Pacific, will commence next June and will depart from Dublin four days a week.

Currently about 40,000 people a year travel between Dublin and Hong Kong.

However they must initially fly to another hub for their Hong Kong connection.

That number is expected to increase with the new direct flights.

Dublin airport manager Vincent Harrison described the development as a "major milestone." 

The flight time on the 9,300km route is expected to be just less than 12 hours. 

It will be serviced by a Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900.

An estimated 4,000 Irish people live in Hong Kong, according to the Irish Embassy in China and trade between Ireland and China is worth more than €8 billion per annum. 

Almost 100 Irish firms have operations in China, employing a total of 100,000 people there.