Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and Henan Province Airport Group, the parent company of the Zhengzhou Xinzheng Airport (CGO) — an important domestic aviation hub and the gateway to the central region of China — aim to establish a strategic partnership to strengthen aviation ties between the UAE and China. This follows the signing of a virtual Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during the virtual “Zhengzhou Week” event hosted by Expo 2020 Dubai China Pavilion starting Dec. 27, 2021.
The MOU contains plans for Etihad’s potential operation of regular cargo services between Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO) to create the “Air Silk Road” between Henan Province and the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The MOU also covers scope of cooperation between the two parties to build the CGO airport into an air freight hub in the region, and to diversify product sales and cargo distribution channels at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport.
Martin Drew, senior vice president Sales and Cargo, Etihad Airways, said: “Etihad is very excited to see the potential to further expand its cargo footprint in China, and to create the ‘Air Silk Road’ between the emirate and Central China together with Henan Province Airport Group. This will greatly improve the diversification of product sales and cargo distribution channels in this region and strengthen economic and trade links between the UAE and China, and beyond.
“As the national airline of the UAE, Etihad Airways has played a key role in the transportation of vaccines and medical supplies within and outside the UAE, based on its professional medical logistics solutions. Since the start of the pandemic, Etihad Cargo has operated 1,042 flights out of Shanghai and Beijing, carrying over 65,000 tonnes on its Boeing 777 freighters and passenger freighters, among which 50% of the flights were medical supplies to support the global fight against COVID-19 and equip frontline medical professionals.”
Driven by the huge demand for medical supplies, Etihad Cargo has performed strongly in the past year. Etihad Cargo has restored 90% of its destinations compared with before the pandemic in the same period in 2019, while its capacity has increased by 20%.
Kang Xingzhen, chairman of Henan Airport Group Co. Ltd., complimented the cooperation: “Today, we are very pleased to sign the MoU with Etihad Airways, a key airline player in the Middle East region with extensive network to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, to explore various opportunities under the ‘Air Silk Road’ aviation initiative inspired by the China-proposed ‘Belt and Road Initiative’.
“Driven by the dramatic growth of Zhengzhou Xinzheng Airport in recent years, the Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone (ZAEZ) has become the first and, to date, the only aerotropolis in China to simultaneously address business, multimodal surface transportation, airport and urban objectives as an integrated whole. Supported by Zhengzhou Airport’s 51 air cargo routes, the ZAEZ has not only become a manufactured product export dynamo, but also Central China’s largest foreign-origin meat port as well as a leading Chinese distribution point for a multitude of other imported food perishables. We sincerely hope to see Etihad Airways’ scheduled freight flights land into the CGO in the not-too-distant future.”
Taking full advantage of Abu Dhabi’s natural position as a global logistics center to promote the growth of the air cargo high-value product market segmentation, Etihad Cargo provides several commercial services to meet the diverse needs of the high-end product market segmentation, and has created specialist products and services with dedicated teams to make sure that every single detail is taken care of, including PharmaLife, FreshForward, SkyStables, LiveAnimals, FlightValet, FlyCulture, SafeGuard and AirMail.