Etihad Cargo operated its inaugural freighter flight to Ezhou Huahu Airport on 18 August with its Boeing 777-200 freighter, marking the start of freighter service between Abu Dhabi and Ezhou.
The carrier is the first international airline other than SF Airlines to operate flights to the airport.
Located in China’s Hubei province, Ezhou Huahu Airport was developed as Asia’s first and the world’s fourth dedicated cargo airport. Equipped with a 23,000-sqm cargo terminal and a 700,000-sqm freight transit centre, the airport serves as a gateway for air trade between China and the rest of the world.
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 from China to overseas via Etihad’s hub in Abu Dhabi.
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 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.”
The airport is expected to open 10 international cargo routes and 50 domestic routes by 2025, with an annual cargo and mail throughput of 2.45 million tonnes.