Airport operator Henan Province Airport has signed a co-operation arrangement with German airport infrastructure operator Mitteldeutsche Airport Holding.

The agreement will allow the partners to develop air freight flights together, as well as strengthen both airports as central hubs for goods distribution across China and Europe.

Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung said: "The interest on China’s part confirms that the expansion and investments in the airport and logistics facilities at Leipzig/Halle have paid off.

"We’re also expecting greater commitment from Asian investors operating in both the industry and commerce sectors."

The central Chinese government in Beijing is currently pushing to shift industries into new inner Chinese development zones. However, this is expected to happen only if the relevant global logistics chains and the associated services are available.

"We’re expecting our co-operation arrangement to be constructive and successful."

The Chinese leaders are looking for sites in Europe, which will be capable of handling and distributing goods in a short amount of time and with high-quality service.

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Henan Province Airport Group chairman An Huiyuan said: "We’ve found a highly promising partner to network our ambitious region with the European continent in the shape of Leipzig/Halle, the fifth largest cargo airport in Europe.

"We selected Leipzig/Halle, because we value the airport’s central location, its outstanding intermodal transport links and its unrestricted operating times. Based on these factors, we’re expecting our cooperation arrangement to be constructive and successful."

With its 24-hour operating permit for air freight shipments, Leipzig/Halle Airport is considered to be an ideal site for transporting goods between Europe and China. Unlike other airports with restricted operating times, it enables airlines to avoid additional downtimes within the global transport chain.

Mitteldeutsche Flughafen CEO Markus Kopp said: "We’ve now managed to expand our global cooperation network to four Asian and two American partner airports as a result of this agreement with Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport.

"Consequently, we’ll be able to work even more intensively on developing new air freight services and expanding existing ones.

"The benefits of being able to handle air freight round the clock will divert additional flows of goods through Leipzig/Halle. This will not only safeguard existing jobs at the airport and in the surrounding area, but also create new ones," Kopp added.

Zhengzhou Xinzheng Airport handled 13.14m passengers and 255,700t of freight in 2013.

Public-owned Mitteldeutsche Airport Holding has three subsidiaries: Leipzig/Halle Airport, Dresden International Airport and PortGround.

It handled 90,647 aircraft movements, about four million passengers and 887,281t of freight in 2013.