Etihad Cargo adds Ezhou Huahu Airport to its network
18 / 08 / 2023
Etihad Cargo has become the first international airline to operate a flight to China’s new cargo-focused Ezhou Huahu Airport.
The carrier’s Boeing 777-200 freighter arrived in Ezhou on August 18, marking the commencement of freighter service between Abu Dhabi and Ezhou.
Located in the Hubei Province of China, Ezhou Huahu Airport was developed as Asia’s first and the world’s fourth “professional” cargo airport.
Equipped with a 23,000 sq m cargo terminal and a 700,000 sq m freight transit centre, the airport is expected to open 10 international cargo routes and 50 domestic routes by 2025, with an annual cargo and mail throughput of 2.45m tonnes.
Etihad Cargo’s expansion to Ezhou Huahu Airport follows the carrier’s announcement that it has expanded its reciprocal block space agreement with SF Airlines to increase cargo capacity between China and the rest of the world via Etihad Cargo’s hub in Abu Dhabi.
This partnership has given Etihad Cargo’s partners and customers greater accessibility to 25 domestic Chinese destinations, including Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Nanjing.
Meanwhile, SF Airlines benefits from Etihad Cargo’s global network for its express product.
Leonard Rodrigues, head of revenue management, fleet and network at Etihad Cargo, said: “Offering connectivity to China’s five national-level city clusters via railway, waterway, expressway and air transportation infrastructure, Ezhou Huahu Airport is the region’s first dedicated, professional cargo airport.
“The commencement of a weekly freighter service between Abu Dhabi and Ezhou opens up new interline opportunities with Etihad Cargo’s partner SF Airlines and will enable the carrier to further expand its reach into the Chinese market, which is a key region to the airline and Etihad Cargo’s customers and partners.
“The state-of-the-art facilities and smart technology available in the airport represent the future of air cargo, and Etihad Cargo is fully committed to achieving mutual growth and strengthening ties between the UAE and China, building on the success of this new route.”
Robert Zhang, commercial director of SF Airlines, commented: “By being centrally located in China, the airport has the advantage of connecting to most of the tier-one cities in China within a two-hour flight.
“Ezhou Huahu Airport provides comprehensive services, including but not limited to a fast-handling sorting centre, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), and an international cargo terminal.
“Ezhou Huahu Airport strongly supports SF’s domestic and international operations. By growing with Ezhou Huahu Airport, we believe it will bring more opportunities and value to the cooperation between SF Airlines and Etihad Cargo.”
Luo Guowei, party secretary and chairman of Hubei International Logistics Airport Co, said: “We are delighted to witness the inaugural launch of Etihad Cargo’s freighter flight to Ezhou Huahu Airport, marking the commencement of freighter services between Abu Dhabi and Ezhou.
“As a major national productivity project and a gateway for air trade between China and the rest of world, Ezhou Huahu Airport stands as the first professional cargo hub airport in Asia and the fourth of its kind in the world.
“The introduction of a weekly freighter service between Abu Dhabi and Ezhou will play an important role in promoting seamless connectivity between China and countries and regions along the ‘Belt and Road’.”
The carrier said that its new freighter service between Abu Dhabi and Ezhou will enable Etihad Cargo to meet increased demand for cargo capacity out of China.
It will continue to explore opportunities to add depth to its network and “provide partners and customers with greater connectivity between China, the UAE and the rest of the world”.