China's Juneyao Air is to launch a new twice weekly route between Dublin Airport and China's largest city Shanghai from next March.

The new service to Shanghai Pudong Airport will also have onward connections to 40 other Chinese destinations, six cities in Japan and 10 other Asia-Pacific destinations.

The new route will operate on Sundays and Thursdays, on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft with a short stop in Helsinki on each leg.

Juneyao Air is one of the leading privately-owned carriers in mainland China and it carried more than 18 million passengers last year on a fleet of 74 aircraft. 

It started its first European route - to Helsinki - this summer and will also launch routes to Athens and Manchester next year.

Tourism Ireland estimates that about 100,000 Chinese visitors came to Ireland last year, which was an 11% increase compared to 2017. 

China is the world's largest outbound travel market, and Ireland has a target of attracting 200,000 Chinese visitors per year by 2025.

Juneyao is also seeking to service the growing air cargo market between Ireland and China.

Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison said the new Juneyao service is great news for the entire Irish economy. 

"Shanghai is a major global economic hub and this new route will significantly boost Irish tourism and trade, making it easier for Irish firms to do business in China and enhancing the options for Chinese tourists wishing to visit Ireland," Mr Harrison said.