Hainan Airlines is to launch the first ever direct flights from Scotland to China on June 12.

The three-pronged route will fly from Beijing to Dublin and onto Edinburgh and then back to Beijing on Thursdays and Sundays then fly to Edinburgh on to Dublin and back to Beijing on Tuesdays and Saturdays on board an Airbus A330-300.

Chief executive of Edinburgh airport, Gordon Dewar said: “This is a fantastic day for Edinburgh airport and for Scotland as we connect Scotland and China for the first time. We are two countries steeped in history and rich in culture, offering new destinations for people from both countries to visit and explore.

“Edinburgh is second only to London as the most popular UK destination for Chinese tourists, and we have worked incredibly hard with partners across the city and country to get to this point.”

Bao Qifa`s, chairman of Hainan Airlines, added: “By continuously expanding and improving our international network, Hainan Airlines dedicates to bringing more convenience to people’s life. This opening of the first non-stop service from Beijing to Dublin and Edinburgh will provide new facilities to stimulate the development of Sino-Irish and Sino-British relations.”