Luxembourg-based Cargolux is now routing freighter flights from South America directly to Amsterdam, the all-cargo airline announced this week. The new route is in response to South America’s growing output – and European demand for – cut flowers. Each week, Cargolux flies an estimated 95 tons of flowers from Latacunga (Ecuador) and Bogotá (Colombia) to the Netherlands. The flowers are sold near the Schiphol airport at the Aalsmeer auctions, the largest trading center for plants and flowers worldwide.
During the lead-up to Valentine’s day this year, flower exports from Colombia and Ecuador alone reached about 35,000 tons. LATAM cargo has cornered 27 percent of this market at 10,500 tons, but, with exports on the rise, other carriers like Cargolux are bolstering their positions in the market.
Cargolux has been in the South American perishables market, including the flower transport business, for 17 years. The airline began its first charter flight to Bogotá in 1997, which was quickly bumped up to weekly flights to Colombia. Quito routes were added that same year, with feeder flights handled by Bogotá-based Aerosucre. Flights to Bogotá became scheduled services in late 2000.