Two new flights between Shanghai and Dublin and Reykjavik will begin in March next year 2020 to cater to the rising demand of travellers between Europe and China.

Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines will operate two weekly flights on Sundays and Thursdays between Shanghai and the Irish capital from March 29 along with another two weekly flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays between Shanghai and Iceland’s capital from March 31.

Both routes will be operated by the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft with a short stop in Helsinki on each leg. The airline can also sell tickets for travel between Dublin/Reykjavik and Helsinki, the carrier announced on Wednesday.

The two routes mark the acceleration of Juneyao’s ambition to expand to the European travel market. It opened a daily direct flight to Helsinki in June this year while announcing two other routes to Athens and Manchester.

“We see strong demand for travel between China and Europe, and passengers need more choice,” said Wang Junjin, Juneyao’s Chairman.

China has become the world’s largest outbound travel market with 149.72 million outbound trips last year, a 14.7 percent increase on year. The airline expects that figure to reach 178.4 million by 2022.

Meanwhile, 30.54 million overseas travellers made trips to China in 2018, with Europeans accounting for 12.5 percent

China’s Belt & Road initiative has been playing an increasingly important role in deepening China-EU comprehensive strategic partnerships, the airline said.

Juneyao operates over 160 domestic and international flights with 73 Airbus 320s and Boeing 787s. It is the first connecting partner with Star Alliance and has announced a cross-shareholding partnership with China Eastern Airlines to strengthen their positions in Shanghai.