WUHAN, April 1 (Xinhua) -- A Belgium-bound all-cargo aircraft loaded with some 100 tonnes of freight took off at around 11 a.m. Saturday at the Ezhou Huahu Airport in central China's Hubei Province.
This flight marks the opening of the first international route of China's first cargo-focused airport.
The route's maiden flight carried mainly electronic products and processors. A single trip takes about 12 hours.
This route is scheduled to provide two round-trip cargo flights each week between China and Europe, adding 400 tonnes of air express capacity, according to the aircraft's operator SF Airlines, China's largest air-cargo carrier and also the aviation branch of the country's leading courier enterprise SF Express.
The Ezhou Huahu Airport was put into operation in July 2022. It is positioned as a cargo-focused hub airport with extensive cargo traffic but little passenger traffic. It is expected to open 40 domestic freight routes and about four international freight routes by the end of this year.
Zhang Hao, a senior staff member at SF Express, said that with the new routes to come, they expect the throughput of cargo carried via international routes to reach 15,000 tonnes by the end of the year.
SF Airlines' Ezhou Base was officially opened on the same day, and it will provide services for the company and other airlines in the future, according to SF Airlines.
The company said that a cargo transit center is now in testing and will start operations this year.
SF Airlines has established a cargo route network covering China, radiating across Asia, and reaching Europe and the United States.
It will continuously push forward its operations at the Ezhou Huahu Airport and support the airport in creating a world-class air cargo hub, the company noted.