UAE's national airline Etihad Airways and Henan Province Airport Group, the parent company of the Zhengzhou Xinzheng Airport (CGO), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during the virtual "Zhengzhou Week" event hosted by Expo 2020 Dubai China Pavilion, starting from December 27, 2021.
The Zhengzhou Xinzheng Airport (CGO) is an important domestic aviation hub and the gateway to the central region of China. The MoU has been signed with the aim of establishing a strategic partnership between the UAE and China to foster robust aviation ties.
As part of the MoU, Etihad will operate regular cargo services between Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO) to facilitate the development of the "Air Silk Road" between Henan Province and Abu Dhabi. The MoU also covers the scope of cooperation between the two entities for the development of CGO airport as an air freight hub in the region in addition to diversifying product sales and cargo distribution channels at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport.
Speaking about the collaboration, Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Sales and Cargo at Etihad Airways, expressed excitement to expand the airline's cargo footprint in China and create ‘Air Silk Road’ between the emirate and Central China in partnership with Henan Province Airport Group.
"It 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," he added.
As the UAE's national airline, Etihad Airways played a critical role in transporting vaccines and essential medical supplies within and outside the UAE, thanks to its professional medical logistics solutions. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Etihad Cargo operated 1,042 flights out of Shanghai and Beijing, carrying over 65,000 tonnes on its Boeing 777 freighters and passenger freighters. Among them, 50 percent of the flights carried medical supplies to support countries in their fight against COVID-19 and assist frontline medical professionals worldwide.
In line with the huge demand for medical supplies caused by COVID-19, Etihad Cargo emerged as a leader with its logistics operations in the past year. Etihad Cargo has been able to restore 90 percent of its destinations in comparison with the same time period before the pandemic in 2019. At the same time, Etihad Cargo's capacity has increased by 20 percent.
Kang Xingzhen, Chairman of Henan Airport Group Co. Ltd, hailed the cooperation with Etihad Airways, which is a key airline player in the Middle East region with an extensive network in various areas including Europe, Asia and Africa. The MoU will explore various opportunities under the ‘Air Silk Road’ aviation initiative, which is 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," he added.
Xingzhen explained that the ZAEZ is supported by Zhengzhou Airport’s 51 air cargo routes and has become a manufactured product export dynamo. Furthermore, The ZAEZ has emerged as Central China’s largest foreign-origin meat port as well as a leading Chinese distribution point for a multitude of other imported food perishables.
Etihad Cargo is benefitted from Abu Dhabi's natural position as a global logistics centre to support the growth and development of the air cargo high-value product market segmentation. It also provides various commercial services to meet the diverse needs of the high-end product market segmentation. In addition, it has facilitated the creation of specialist products and services in collaboration with dedicated teams such as PharmaLife, FreshForward, SkyStables, LiveAnimals, FlightValet, FlyCulture, SafeGuard and AirMail.