Feb 12, 2016: LATAM Airlines Group’s cargo unit transported more than 150 million bouquets of flowers during the four week flower rush that leads up to Valentine’s Day – the peak season for flower exports. It transported 26 percent of the region’s total flower market, which represents around 9,026 tonnes.
Between January 18 and February 7, approximately 100 cargo aircraft operated by LATAM Airlines Group’s cargo unit took off from Bogota in Colombia, and Quito in Ecuador, tripling the average shipments on these routes. The main destinations of these flights were to the United States and the Netherlands, with the majority via Miami, one of the most important distribution hubs in the world, and the base of operations for LATAM Airlines Group cargo unit.
80 percent of the Colombian and Ecuadorian flowers transported by LATAM Airlines Group cargo unit enter the United States through Miami International Airport and, out of that total, 90 percent remains in Florida and the remaining 10 percent is transported mainly to Los Angeles.
“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”, said Cristián Ureta, CEO, LAN Cargo.
Flowers are transported in freighters, with a loading capacity of between 3,100 and 5,200 boxes. Thus, every aircraft transports around 2 million flower stems, which added up cover the entire US female population of around 160 million women. This means that, for St. Valentine’s Day, LAN Cargo and its affiliates transport at least one flower for every woman in the United States.