A new market to love – Atlas expands its flower business

Mother’s Day to be next peak; volume to drop after that but Atlas will continue to fly flowers from Medellín, Colombia

A new market to love – Atlas expands its flower business

(Photos Credit: Atlas Air)

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Atlas Air began operating a 767 filled with flowers out of José María Córdova International Airport, Colombia and into Miami International Airport on January 17, 2024.

"Each year, starting in January, air cargo volumes blossom with tonnes of flowers taking flight to be presented as bouquets. Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest holidays of the year for florists and the weeks leading up to this holiday are one of Atlas’ busiest peak seasons. In the United States, 80 percent of flowers imported are from Colombia," says a release from Atlas.

The 767 being loaded with flowers for the first flight on Jan 17, 2024

Arian Castellanos, Senior Manager, Ground Ops Systems and Technical Solutions, Atlas Air says: “This was a logical next step for us. We’ve always had a strong presence flying flowers out of Bogotá, which is the largest market in terms of volume. Expanding our Colombia operation into Medellín, the second largest flower market in Colombia, ensures we can meet the demand.”

Frank Diaz, Senior Director, Sales and Marketing, Atlas Air adds: “Bogotá produces mostly roses but Medellín is a warmer climate, which provides different kinds of flowers like carnations and peonies. We used to take flowers from Medellín, pack them on a truck and ship them to Bogotá to fly to Miami but with the addition of this route, we can fly them out of Medellín, which saves time and allows them to arrive fresher.”

The 767 is also a new fleet type for Atlas' South America Operations and came at good time to serve the flower season peak, the release added. “With our flower flights from Bogotá, we fly a 747,” says Diaz. “Since Medellín is a smaller market, with less volume, we are able to leverage our 767. It’s exciting to bring in a new fleet type into the region as well serve a new market.”

Castellanos says: "Previously, we were importing flowers from Quito and Bogotá to Miami. The expansion into Medellín increases our flights into the station and we now operate five flights a week on this route.”

Mother’s Day (in May) will be the next peak for Atlas, says Diaz, "and although the volume will drop after that, we will continue to fly flowers from Medellín. We are committed to meet the demand of the Colombian market and maintain our presence year-round.”

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