Etihad Cargo has operated the carrier's inaugural flight to Ezhou Huahu Airport. Etihad Cargo's Boeing 777-200 freighter arrived in Ezhou on 18 August, making the carrier the first international airline to operate flights to the airport.
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-square-metre cargo terminal and a 700,000-square-metre freight transit centre, the airport serves as a gateway for air trade between China and the rest of the world. The airport is expected to open ten international cargo routes and 50 domestic routes by 2025, with an annual cargo and mail throughput of 2.45 million 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. 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."
“Congratulations to SF’s partner Etihad Cargo on its inaugural flight to Ezhou Huahu Airport. 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,” said Robert Zhang, Commercial Director of SF Airlines.