The world's fourth and Asia's first professional cargo airport - Ezhou Huahu Airport was officially put into operation on the 17th. From here, the 1.5-hour flight circle can cover China's five national-level urban agglomerations, including the Yangtze River Delta urban agglomeration and the Pearl River Delta urban agglomeration. Covering 90% of the country's total economic output, the goods are expected to achieve the goal of "reaching the whole country in one day and reaching the world overnight".
At the scene, we can see that the largest and most conspicuous main building of the airport is this transshipment center of more than 700,000 square meters, the core of which is cargo transportation. The three-story sorting line can reach a total length of 210 kilometers and can handle 500,000 pieces of goods per hour. At present, the transfer center is still under construction and is expected to be put into use by the end of this year.
Ezhou Huahu Airport will mainly meet passenger demand during the day and will focus on cargo aviation at night. Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, a regional hub airport with a distance of no more than 100 kilometers, forms a "dual hub" pattern for air passengers and cargo. This year, Huahu Airport will gradually open passenger routes from Ezhou to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Chongqing, Chengdu, Kunming, Qingdao, Ningbo, and cargo routes from Ezhou to Shenzhen, Shanghai, Frankfurt, and Osaka. The throughput can reach 1 million passengers, and the cargo and mail throughput is 2.45 million tons.
Ezhou Huahu Airport will focus on cargo, supplemented by passenger transport. It will open about 10 international cargo routes and 50 domestic routes one after another. It will gradually become a world-class air cargo hub and strive to build a new logistics highland in China and even the Asia-Pacific region.
According to reports, Huahu Airport is a landmark project for Hubei to implement major national strategies and major infrastructure layouts. After Huahu Airport is completed and put into use, it will form a dual air passenger and cargo hub with Wuhan Tianhe Airport focusing on passenger transport and Ezhou Huahu Airport focusing on freight transport, leading the central region, radiating the whole country, and reaching the world. At the same time, it will fully connect with the Optics Valley Science and Technology Innovation Corridor, promote the development of the airport economy in Wuhan, Ezhou, Huanggang, Huangshi, and other places in the Wuhan metropolitan area, and form an industrial cluster and a new economic growth pole.
Expert: It will help to enhance the competitiveness of my country's air cargo
Ouyang Jie, professor of the Airport College of Civil Aviation University of China and director of the Comprehensive Transportation Research Institute, said that Ezhou Huahu Airport is located in the "Tianyuan" position in the "big picture" of China's economic geography, which is a "first move" that reflects the first move of transportation. It is an important national-level transportation infrastructure for the new round of national regional development strategy and plays a role in boosting the urban agglomeration in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River to the national regional development strategy.
Lin Zhijie, an expert from the Civil Aviation Resources Network, said that the development of my country's air cargo has been limited in recent years. Currently, there are less than 200 all-cargo aircraft, which is less than the scale of FedEx in the United States. The successful operation of Ezhou Airport represents an attempt by SF Express to build a hub-and-spoke cargo aviation network in my country. The cargo aviation hub is benchmarked against Memphis in the United States, hoping to achieve low-cost and high-frequency overnight service through the network hub. This is an important attempt to enhance the competitiveness of my country's air cargo.
Li Xiaojin, director of the Institute of Air Transport Economics at the Civil Aviation University of China, believes that it is of great significance for Ezhou Airport to drive the development of China's and even Asia's air cargo industry. On the demand side, as China's economy and China's civil aviation transition to an advanced stage, there are more and more high-time-value goods imported and exported. For example, in the first half of the year, exports of electrical equipment, integrated circuits, and automotive electromechanical products with high time-value increased by 24.8% and 24.8% respectively. 16.4%, 51.1%, and the export of labor-intensive products such as textiles and garments, plastic products, and shoes with low time value only increased by 10.8%, 14.9%, and 31.4%. Many of these commodities need air freight, and the demand is strong. On the supply side, the epidemic has led to a large reduction in belly warehouses, and there is no professional cargo airport in China or even in Asia. This leads to a short-term shortage of air cargo supply and a long-term shortage. SF Express leads the construction of Ezhou Airport, which can fill this gap in China and even in Asia.
Ezhou Airport drives the economic development and social progress of Ezhou, Hubei, and even the central region of the country. The China Civil Aviation Quality Development Research Center (ADI) compared Ezhou with Memphis, Tennessee, USA (where Memphis Cargo Airport is located): Ezhou’s GDP in 2021 will be 116.2 billion yuan, and the GDP per unit area will be 72 million yuan per square kilometer, which is about the size of Hubei. Three times the provincial average; in 2018, the GDP of Memphis was about 80 billion US dollars, and the GDP per unit area was about 100 million US dollars per square kilometer, which was about 35 times that of Tennessee, and the absolute level was comparable to that of Shanghai in my country. It can be seen that Ezhou has a lot of room for improvement. The government of the region where Ezhou Airport is located should cooperate with SF Express and the civil aviation department to rationally allocate passenger and cargo resources, space resources, human resources, and financial resources, and compete with surrounding Wuhan, Zhengzhou, Changsha, and other places to give full play to the role of civil aviation and airports in the region. The engine of economic development makes Ezhou Airport a "new power source" for the development of Hubei and even central China.
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