Flower power makes scents for LAN Cargo

LATAM Airlines Group’s cargo unit transported more than 160m bouquets of flowers during the three weeks leading up to this weekend’s St Valentine’s Day, the peak time for flower exports around the world.
Approximately 100 cargo aircraft operated by LATAM Airlines Group’s cargo unit took off from Colombia and Ecuador between January 18 and February 7, tripling the average number of flights operated throughout the year.
This season, LAN Cargo and its affiliates transported 26% of the region’s total flower market, which represents around 9,026 tons.
Said LATAM Airlines: "On the Bogotá-Miami route, on which 410 tons are transported on average per week, the figure reached 1,040 tons.
"The same happened on the Quito-Miami route: weekly shipments went from 510 tons to 1,300 tons during the season. Thus, Valentine’s season shipments almost tripled average shipments on both these routes.
"During these three weeks, freighters take off from Bogotá, Medellín (Colombia) and Quito (Ecuador) and fly mainly to the US and the Netherlands."
Most cargo aircraft land in Miami, one of the most important distribution hubs in the world and the base of operations for LATAM Airlines’ cargo unit.
Around 80% of the Colombian and Ecuadorian flowers transported by LATAM Airlines enter the US through Miami International Airport and, out of that total, 90% remains in Florida. The remaining 10% is transported mainly to Los Angeles.
Cristián Ureta, LAN Cargo’s chief executive, said: “Even if we transport flowers year-round, there are two key dates, St. Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, on which we need to put all our energy in and work coordinately to meet the sharp increase in demand. This leads to us transporting three times more than what we fly on regular weeks.”
Even though some Latin American countries like Peru, Costa Rica and Guatemala have their own flower production, the main producers are Colombia and Ecuador, which export more than 35,000 tons of fresh flowers to more than 90 countries, just during Valentine’s season.
The main varieties transported are red roses, carnations, pompoms and chrysanthemums.
In 2014, LAN CARGO and its affiliates transported a total of 115,000 tons of flowers from these two countries, achieving a market share of approximately 26%.

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