Case Study: Ezhou Huahu International Airport
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Photo 1: Using the Bentley iTwin platform, Hubei developed a digital twin encompassing 25 million components to resolve 6,000 issues prior to construction. Image courtesy of Hubei International Logistics Airport Co., Ltd.; Shenzhen S.F. Taisen Holdings (Group) Co.

Photo 2: The CNY 30.8 billion Ezhou Huahu Airport project required coordinating massive multisourced data and multiple participants on a tight schedule. Image courtesy of Hubei International Logistics Airport Co., Ltd.; Shenzhen S.F. Taisen Holdings (Group) Co., Ltd.; Airport Construction Engineering Co., Ltd.

Photo 3: Leveraging BIM and Bentley’s iTwin applications reduced the construction period by 200 days and saved CNY 300 million. Image courtesy of Hubei International Logistics Airport Co., Ltd.; Shenzhen S.F. Taisen Holdings (Group) Co., Ltd.; Airport Construction Engineering Co., Ltd.

Photo 4: Teresa Elliott, Senior Director, Industry Marketing, Bentley Systems. Photo courtesy of Bentley Systems.

Bentley’s BIM and iTwin technology helped establish a digital twin to resolve 6,000 issues and save CNY 300 million in costs, delivering Asia’s first professional cargo airport. Text by Teresa Elliott, Senior Director, Industry Marketing, Bentley Systems.

Developing an International Cargo Hub

Situated in the east of Ezhou in Hubei province, the new Ezhou Huahu International Airport is being developed as Asia’s first professional cargo airport, which is expected to function as an aviation logistics port and multimodal international cargo hub for China. The CNY 30.8 billion project covers 11.89 square kilometres and a total construction area of 900,000 square metres with 15 single units, including a passenger terminal and one of the world’s largest transfer centres. Positioned as a cargo hub, passenger transport branch line, public platform, and air cargo base, it has a planned capacity to handle 2.45 million tons of cargo and 1.5 million passengers per year by 2030. Hubei International Logistics Airport is responsible for overall airport construction and operation management.

Complexities and Enormities Demand Collaborative Digitalisation

The large-scale project presented coordination challenges that required the integration of numerous process equipment, systems, and participants, compounded by complex geological conditions and a tight timeline. Involving civil aviation, municipal administration, and construction industries, 29 different disciplines – consisting of more than 50 parties and over 600 on-site personnel – needed to collaborate across various locations. Hubei wanted to implement comprehensive BIM application and collaborative digital workflows. However, faced with no existing civil aviation BIM standards and 25 million model components, they realised that they needed a digital platform capable of supporting large volumes of multisourced data and intelligent lifecycle operations.

iTwin Platform Provides Integrated Solution

Hubei selected Bentley’s BIM and iTwin technology to develop a 3D model of the airport and the first full-lifecycle digital construction management platform based on BIM standards in the China’s civil aviation industry. They used OpenRoads to develop a rapid professional modeling tool that contained 11 categories and 40 sub-items, and ProStructures and Navigator to coordinate structural modeling with the on-site construction team. ProjectWise provided a controlled, collaborative environment to manage and streamline the various multidiscipline workflows. Using the Bentley iTwin platform, they integrated 25 million model components from the different software applications to develop a cloud-based, digital twin capable of incorporating the voluminous engineering and data components.

Digital Twin Drives Savings and Industry Innovation

Working in an open connected data environment using Bentley’s BIM applications and ProjectWise helped Ezhou Huahu International Airport streamline multidiscipline collaboration, shortening model delivery time by 90 days and saving CNY 12 million. Compared to traditional construction methods, using Navigator to provide and engage the on-site construction team with the model improved productivity by 25 percent. Using the Bentley iTwin platform featuring a large modeling capacity, they established a digital twin that supported multisourced 3D models, attributes, and documents, resolving approximately 6,000 issues and saving CNY 300 million in costs. In addition to solving technological and coordination problems, the digital twin solution helped develop innovative digital management concepts and workflow processes to achieve full lifecycle BIM application for China’s civil aviation industry.

Project Playbook: Bentley Raceway and Cable Management, MicroStation, OpenBridge Designer, OpenBuildings, OpenRoads Designer, ProjectWise, ProStructures


- Hubei needed an open, connected data environment and digital twin to coordinate 50 BIM units across three industries, and integrate 25 million model components to deliver Asia’s first international airport cargo hub.

- ProjectWise accelerated communication and collaboration among project participants by 60 days to save CNY 12 million.

- Using the digital twin shortened the construction period by 200 days and saved CNY 300 million in costs.

- The integrated technology solution enabled Hubei to develop an innovative digital platform facilitating lifecycle BIM application for the first time in China’s civil aviation industry.

“Bentley iTwin’s super-capacity load technology has effectively solved the problem of multidata fusion of 25 million components in Ezhou Huahu Airport, providing a strong data guarantee for later construction management, operation, and maintenance,” said Zou Xianqiang, Chief Engineer, Hubei International Logistics Airport Co., Ltd.


User Name: Hubei International Logistics Airport Co., Ltd., Shenzhen S.F. Taisen Holdings (Group) Co., Ltd., Airport Construction Engineering Co., Ltd.

Project Name: Ezhou Huahu Airport Project

Project Location: Ezhou, Hubei, China

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