The Ezhou Huahu Airport in China’s central province of Hubei has started commercial operations with the first cargo flight on 17 July.
A Boeing 767-300 operated by SF Airlines took off at around 11:36 am on Sunday, launching China’s first professional air cargo hub and the fourth of its kind in the world, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Equipped with a cargo terminal of 23,000 square meters, a freight transit center of around 700,000 square meters, 124 parking stands and two runways, the new airport is expected to improve the efficiency of air freight transport and further promote the opening up of the country after two years of highly restricted travel by air due to the pandemic.
The airport has opened two cargo routes to Shenzhen and Shanghai, and is scheduled to add international routes connecting with Osaka in Japan and Frankfurt in Germany within this year.
Besides cargo flights, the airport will provide passenger flight services for eastern Hubei. These include seven passenger routes linking Ezhou with nine destinations, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Kunming.
The landlocked city of Ezhou is hundreds of kilometers away from any seaports, but with the new airport, proponents say goods from the hub can reach any location in China overnight and foreign destinations in two days.
SF Express, China’s leading logistics service provider, plays a crucial role at the Ezhou airport and holds a 46 percent stake in airport operator Hubei International Logistics Airport Co., Ltd. It plans to process the majority of its packages through the new airport, having built a freight transport transit center, a cargo sorting center and an aviation base at the new Chinese air hub.