Zhengzhou, in central China's Henan province, has been transitioning from a railway-pivoted economy to an aviation-oriented one, since it was approved as the nation's first airport comprehensive economic zone by the State Council, China's Cabinet, in March 2013.
The economic zone covers a total area of 415 square kilometers, with Zhengzhou's Xinzheng International Airport as its center. The airport is the first and only airport for connecting mainland cargo flights with overseas ones.The first flight carrying electronic products successfully completed its course between Zhengzhou and Taipei, Taiwan on October 19, marking the success of the route.
Flights between Taipei, Nanjing and Zhengzhou will run every Saturday.
Song Xiangqing from the Commerce Economy Association of Henan Province says the new route significantly reduces the cost and time required to transfer cargoes between Henan and Taiwan.
"This direct route between Zhengzhou and Taipei promises a new outlook for cooperation between Henan province and Taiwan," Song says.
Chen Meng from the Zhengzhou branch of Shanghai's CEVA Logistics says that thanks to the flights, they can deliver the latest products to their clients, which are mainly Apple retailers.
"The products can arrive in Taipei the same day they come out of the factory, and we ship them to countries in the Americas. We save at least one or two days on delivery, which allows us to meet clients' demands faster."
With the acquisition of US manufacturer Mooney Aviation by Henan's Meijing Group, two M20 aircraft arrived at the Xinzheng International Airport on October 22. The M20s are piston-powered, propeller-driven small aircraft and currently cost 1 million US dollars, or over 6 million yuan, to produce, but will cost less than 5 million yuan if manufactured in China.
The Meijing Group will work with US aviation design groups to produce airplane parts. Mooney Aviation's CEO Chen Zhengyuan says they will first resume aircraft manufacturing in the US and then focus on private planes targeted at the Chinese market.
"We hope to build plane models which are suitable for China and move our manufacturing base here. We are laying the foundations for this and will keep working towards it," Chen says.
Twenty-one more flight routes are expected to open, connecting Zhengzhou with destinations in Asia, Europe, America and Oceania. With geographical advantages and rich human resources, Professor John Kasarda from the University of North Carolina, who proposed the "Aerotropolis theory", believes Zhengzhou's airport comprehensive economic zone has bright prospects for development.