Etihad Airways and Henan Province Airport Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create an “Air Silk Road” between the province and Abu Dhabi.

The virtual MoU was signed during the virtual Zhengzhou Week event hosted by the Expo 2020 Dubai China Pavilion starting on 27 December.

It contains plans for Etihad to operate regular cargo flights between Abu Dhabi International Airport and Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport, and further plans to develop Zhengzhou as an airfreight hub in the region.

The deal will help Zhengzhou airport diversify its product sales and cargo distribution channels.

Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Sales and Cargo at Etihad Airways: “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.”

He adds that since the start of the pandemic, Etihad Cargo has operated over 1,000 flights out of Shanghai and Beijing, carrying over 65,000 tonnes, and 50% of the flights were medical supplies to support the global fight against Covid-19.

Kang Xingzhen, Chairman of Henan Airport Group says the Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone (ZAEZ) has developed as the only aerotropolis in China to address business, multimodal surface transport, airport and urban objectives as an integrated unit.

Xingzhen says: “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.”