China’s Singles Day on Nov. 11 is the world’s biggest 24-hour online shopping event. On that day, visitors to the Belgian e-commerce website facealacrise. be were welcome by the above note, which invited them to explore a myriad of high-quality products on offer from Chinese retailers.

The giant screen shows sales on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform hitting 498. 2 thousand yuan (about 74. 10 thousand You. S. dollars) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) during the annual Singles’ Day online shopping spree at Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang State, on Nov. 12, 2020. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)

The “logistics backbone” behind the upswing in China’s retail sales is air shipment. Shipping companies operate air freight services along multiple passages between China and the countries Silk Road economic belt of Europe along the “Air Cotton Road, ” an aviation industry gumption inspired by the China-proposed Belt and Road Gumption (BRI). The underlying aim is to improve on the internet and foster a sustainable aviation economy.

The “Air Cotton Road” in addition has proved its worth by helping save lives during the pandemic.

BRUSSELS, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) — “Have you ever purchased products directly from China? Click here to learn more about Singles Day 2020! “

China’s Singles Day on Nov. 11 is the world’s biggest 24-hour online shopping event. On that day, visitors to the Belgian e-commerce website facealacrise. be were welcome by the above note, which invited them to explore a myriad of high-quality products on offer from Chinese retailers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has arguably changed the world, and the way people shop is no different.

As countries all over Europe have closed “non-essential” stores to contain the increase of COVID-19, consumers in increasing numbers have ventured into Chinese online shopping websites to purchase the products they are after.

The “logistics backbone” behind the upswing in China’s retail sales is air shipment. Shipping companies operate air freight services along multiple passages between China and the countries of Europe along the “Air Cotton Road, ” an aviation industry gumption inspired by the China-proposed Belt and Road Gumption (BRI). The underlying aim is to improve on the internet and foster a sustainable aviation economy.

CREATING OPPORTUNITIES

Liege Airport in southeastern Belgium is the place’s largest airport in terms of shipment throughput and is one of Europe’s air shipment hubs. The BRI has greatly boosted the airport’s development and business prospects in recent years.

On Oct. 27, the Qingdao-Liege all-cargo regular international route was basically opened. It’s the latest addition to the air freight services connecting China with Belgium.

The pandemic has forced the suspension of several travel arrangements between China and Europe, but the “Air Cotton Road” shipment companies at Liege Airport continue to operate at almost full capacity, helping countless small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) deliver their products across thousands of miles.

Liege Airport expects to be among the few air-ports in Europe to maintain a 10-percent growth in 2020. Its annual shipment volume is probable to exceed one million tons for the first time.

A airline carrying medical materials from China arrives at the Liege airport, Belgium, on Drive 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)

Talking to journalists, Luc Partoune, chief executive officer (CEO) of Liege Airport, traced this to the rapid development of cross-border e-commerce, adding that it benefited not only the aviation industry but also other industries, and not only China but also the world over.

Seizing the business opportunity, Yang Gaijing, an overseas Chinese who has been engaged in the catering industry in Liege for more than 20 years, launched his logistics company this year and wasted no time to join the Singles Day shopping bonanza.

“Online shopping has a huge potential in Europe, unlike in China, where the market is saturated. Our company will also focus on helping European SMEs move to China in the future, ” he said.

Meanwhile, new shipment passages connecting Belgium’s Ostend-Bruges International airport with a few Chinese cities — such as Shanghai in East China, Shijiazhuang in North China and Nanchang in South China — were also opened in late September.

The airport’s CEO, Marcel Buelens, told Xinhua at the opening event that he looked forward to more detailed cooperation between Europe and China and expected his airport to become a mainstay in this framework.

BOOSTING RECOVERY

The new passages launched in the past several years have ripe the “Air Cotton Road, ” whoever role bulks even large during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as countries are struggling amongst its economic aftereffects.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), China has maintained regular international voyager and shipment travel arrangements to 45 countries and regions during the pandemic. At present, China and the BRI countries and regions operate 1, 068 shipment travel arrangements a week, 2. 6 times more than before the pandemic.

Among the travel arrangements shuttling between China and Europe are those on the Zhengzhou-Luxembourg international freight route. It was launched in 2014 after Henan Civil Aviation Development and Investment Co., Ltd. acquired a 35-percent stake in the Luxembourg-based Cargolux Airlines International, which operates the biggest all-cargo airline in Europe.

This air freight service currently operates up to twenty-three travel arrangements a week connecting Europe, Asia and the united states, with Zhengzhou at its core.

Zhou Lihong, chairwoman of the China Chamber of Commerce to the EUROPEAN (CCCEU), told Xinhua that Air freight is ideal to guarantee point-to-point trade exchanges.

In contrast to the land and maritime Cotton Roads, the “Air Cotton Road” can overcome the infrastructure problems associated with land transportation, as well as the geographical limitations of maritime transportation, Zhou said.