LATAM Cargo flies over 9,000 tons of flowers for Valentine’s Day
LATAM Cargo operated more than 140 flights from Colombia and Ecuador using specially fitted B767-300F aircraft between January 14 and February 8 to transport flowers for the 2019 Valentine’s Day season. LATAM Cargo carried more than 9,000 tons of flowers over this period, which together with Mother’s Day (in April and May) represent the peak of fresh flower export activity.
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. This connectivity was possible thanks to LATAM Cargo’s network of over 140 destinations, linking Latin America with the rest of the world.
To satisfy demand during the busiest week, LATAM Cargo increased its cargo frequencies from 12 to 23 flights in Colombia and from 10 to 31 flights in Ecuador. Over the total period, LATAM Cargo increased the capacity of its operation by 2.4 times, transporting 4,180 tons of fresh flowers from Colombia and 4,920 tons from Ecuador.
United States imported the majority of this season’s flowers with Miami alone receiving 8,050 tons, 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 tons (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.
“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,” commented Felipe Caballero, Commercial Director for Central and Northern South America, LATAM Cargo.
Colombia and Ecuador: Latin America’s leading flower producers
The Bogota savanna in Colombia is the country’s main flower growing area, accounting for 70 per cent of production. It is followed by Eastern Antioquia (25 per cent) and other areas across the country. In the Bogota savanna, the municipality of Madrid has the largest number of hectares planted, although other areas like Funza, El Rosal, Chía, Cajicá, Facatativá, Tocancipá and Tenjo also stand out as large producers.
In Eastern Antioquia, the main production zone is La Ceja, followed by Rionegro, Guarne, La Unión, El Carmen de Viboral and the municipality of Santa Elena.
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.