American Airlines Cargo to transport 50% more flowers out of Europe
This year, American will transport 50% more flowers out of Europe than in 2022, or more than 417 tonnes, for the Valentine's Day peak. The airline uses its trucking network and widebody planes to deliver Dutch tulips and roses to the United States and abroad through LHR and CDG.
This Valentine's Day, American Airlines Cargo is delivering hundreds of tonnes of fresh flowers, marking the first of several peaks for the airline throughout the year. While many businesses prepare for the Valentine's Day rush, the American Airlines Cargo team is prepared all year for this vertical market and consistent business.
This year, American will transport 50% more flowers out of Europe than in 2022, or more than 417 tonnes, for the Valentine's Day peak. The airline uses its trucking network and widebody planes to deliver Dutch tulips and roses to the United States and abroad through London Heathrow (LHR) and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).
For over 30 years, American Airlines Cargo teams in the Americas and Europe have consistently transported a variety of fresh flowers, including roses, tulips, carnations, lilies, peonies, and baby's breath, to help commemorate a variety of special occasions.
Valentine's Day is the first holiday of the year when flower demand increases for the carrier, but there are several other celebrations, such as Emperor's Birthday in Japan, Easter, Mother's Day in the United States and Europe, All Saints Day, U.S. Thanksgiving, and Christmas, where volumes peak in multiple locations across American's cargo network.
“It’s always exciting to see flowers move across our network this time of year. Our teams are passionate about the careful handling of these shipments, knowing we play an important role for our customers and ultimately the people around the world who will celebrate Valentine’s Day with flowers we carry,” says Emma Oliver, American Airlines Cargo Sales Director, EMEA & APAC.
Roses and carnations have long been a popular export from Ecuador and Colombia, dating back more than three decades. Throughout the year, these flowers travel through American's Miami International Airport (MIA) hub before continuing on to local or transatlantic destinations in Europe. Roses account for more than 70% of the fresh flowers that American imports from Ecuador and Colombia, and this figure rises to 90% on Valentine's Day.
“Flowers are a precious cargo. They need to arrive in perfect condition to delight our customers, and our dedicated teams recognize the importance of care, packaging, and handling to ensure they look as beautiful when they arrive at a destination as when they left the farm,” says Lorena Sandoval, American Airlines Cargo Sales Director – Florida, Caribbean and Latin America.
While certain flowers, such as roses, are available all year, others, such as tulips, daffodils, and poinsettias, are very seasonal. Tulips and daffodils are shipped in large quantities from Europe to the United States and Asia throughout the spring months, while poinsettias from Mexico and Chile are in high demand during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Regardless of the season, event, or type of bloom, American's cargo team is working hard to transport fresh flowers wherever they are needed. The carrier also has a large cold-chain network, with many of its main stops outfitted with cooler facilities that may be used depending on availability to help keep flowers fresh on their voyage across the world.