ZHENGZHOU, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Central China's city of Zhengzhou began to see a thriving aviation industry after the country's first and only pilot zone led by air harbor economy was approved in the inland city in 2013.
"It takes less than two hours for a fully loaded cargo aircraft to unload at Zhengzhou's airport," said Wieger Ketelapper, vice president of Luxair, adding that the Zhengzhou-Luxembourg Silk Road air route makes air delivery fast and convenient.
"As an inland city, Zhengzhou has been exploring opportunities to open up," said Fan Yong, vice general manager of Henan Civil Aviation Development & Investment Co., Ltd.
In 2014, the Zhengzhou-based company acquired 35 percent of Luxair's stock equities, which marked the city's participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, said Fan.
Over the year, Zhengzhou has been benefited from the Belt and Road Initiative to develop its aviation-related economy and vows to build an aviation hub.
By the end of 2018, 29 international cargo air routes had opened at Zhengzhou airport, and the city has been linked with 28 foreign cities and regions via a sophisticated airfreight network, making it one of China's first-tier cities in terms of international airfreight capacity.
"Zhengzhou has become a worldwide distribution center of mobile phones, high-end auto parts, electric devices and fresh aquatic products and fruits," said Li Weidong, chairman of Henan Province Airport Group.
Li added that the Zhengzhou airport now serves as a vital engine of driving the opening up of China's central region.
Aircraft not only brings cargo but also creates opportunities to develop relevant industries. Zhengzhou has built an industrial cluster of intelligent terminals, precision machinery and biopharmaceutical industries.
In 2018, the mobile phone industry of the city's air harbor pilot zone totaled 308.3 billion yuan, up 7.3 percent over the previous year.
Zhengzhou has become an active player in the global industrial chain, and its industrial development further drives the city to grow, said Cao Yunchun, director of the Airport Economy Institute of the Civil Aviation University of China.