Valentine’s day flower trade drives air cargo business [ VIDEO]

from-emirates-with-loveIn the run-up to Valentine’s Day this year, Emirates SkyCargo has added four additional freighters from Nairobi, carrying an additional 350 tonnes of flowers into Amsterdam. LATAM Cargo announced that it is transporting more than 160 million bouquets of flowers (around 9,000 tons) in the three weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day.

Luxembourg-based Cargolux said it also added a significant number of additional 747 freighter flights for this year’s Valentine’s Day. Combined with its regularly weekly flower services, Cargolux says it carries about 20,000 tonnes of fresh-cut flowers each year. One cubed-out 747F carries about four million flowers.

American Airlines worldwide flower shipments for Valentine’s Day ramped up over the first week of February as well. The carrier expects to transport between 10 and 15 tonnes of fresh cut flowers out of Amsterdam alone in the leadup to the commercial holiday.

In 2016, American transported more than 8,600 tonnes of flowers.  Between January and December 2016, Emirates SkyCargo transported over 70,000 tonnes of fresh flowers around the world.

Major flower exporters include the Netherlands, the U.S., Ecuador and Colombia. Flower exports are a major export for Latin American economies and volumes out of Africa from countries such as Kenya are on the rise as well. Between January 16 and February 7, over 140 cargo flights departed from Ecuador and Colombia, triple the average number of weekly air cargo shipments. Between Bogotá, Colombia and Miami, a route where LATAM transports an average of 360 tonnes per week, cargo reached 900 tonnes per week.

“In almost all cases, whether it’s a small boutique or a Costco shipment, air cargo helps flowers make their way onto shelves just days after they’re picked,” said Marah Schobert, regional manager, American Airlines Cargo Sales – MIA.

American seems to be aiming for more of a year-round slice of the flower action. Beginning May 5, the airline will implement a direct service from DFW to Amsterdam to “further support its growing flower and perishables business,” which it noted will be in time to accommodate Mother’s Day demand.

Below, Emirates SkyCargo decks out their freighter with a new seasonal livery.



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