LATAM Cargo operated more than 140 flights full of flowers from Colombia and Ecuador – equivalent to a Boeing 76-300 Freighter – between 14 January and 8 February to transport flowers for Valentine’s Day.
Red and pink roses, mixed bouquets, carnations, chrysanthemums, iris, gypsophila and green foliage were among the most popular varieties this season.
During the four weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, LATAM Cargo transported flowers from Bogota and Medellin in Colombia and from Quito, Ecuador, to North America, Europe, Asia, Oceania as well as other parts of South America.
To satisfy demand during the busiest week, the carrier increased its cargo frequencies from 12 to 23 flights in Colombia and from 10 to 31 flights in Ecuador. Over the peak season period, LATAM Cargo increased the capacity of its operation by 2.4 times, transporting 4,180 tonnes of fresh flowers from Colombia and 4,920 tons from Ecuador.
The United States imported the majority of this season’s flowers with Miami alone receiving 8,050 tonnes, equivalent to 88 per cent of the flowers transported by LATAM Cargo for Valentine’s Day and almost doubling regular cargo traffic. Miami is one of the world’s largest distribution hubs and is the principal base of LATAM Airlines Group’s cargo operations.
In second place was Amsterdam (the Netherlands), which received 500 tonnes (six per cent), followed by Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing (China), Madrid (Spain) and Paris (France). Flowers were also flown to other destinations including New York (USA), Santiago (Chile) and New Zealand.
LATAM Cargo commercial director for Central and Northern South America, Felipe Caballero said: “Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are peak periods which involve a highly complex operation, providing LATAM Cargo with an opportunity to demonstrate its leadership in Latin America.
“We have the expertise, experience and flexibility to increase frequencies to meet the extra demand and customer needs, while maintaining the cold chain so that flowers retain their properties, freshness and quality. Through this operation, we are also helping to boost Colombia and Ecuador’s position as major global producers of fresh flowers.”
LATAM Cargo said the Bogota savanna in Colombia is the country’s main flower growing area, accounting for 70 per ent of production. It is followed by Eastern Antioquia (25 per cent) and other areas across the country.
In Ecuador, flower production is concentrated in the areas of Cayambe and El Quinche, which account for almost 60 per cent of all roses exported, and Latacunga with approximately 1,000 hectares planted. The province of Azuay is also a significant producer.