A sea of flowers for all of Europe

Lufthansa Cargo was putting on special flights to bring 1,000 tonnes of roses to Germany for Valentine’s Day

Millions of people have been able to express their love with red roses on Valentine's Day thanks to fast transport via air freight. These long-stemmed flowers are especially delicate and have to be transported quickly and carefully to Europe from where they are cultivated in Africa and South America.

Lufthansa Cargo was filling its freighters with flowers these days to ensure that millions of red roses will be available on time for Valentine’s Day on 14 February. In total, Europe’s leading cargo airline flew around 1,000 tonnes of roses from warmer climes to Frankfurt this year. The amount transported weighed around the same as 1,000 small cars. The logistical process involved in transporting up to 90 tonnes of roses on a single flight is actually more environmentally-friendly than growing the roses in Germany. According to a study conducted by Cranfield University in the UK, this would produce more CO2 as each individual flower needs artificial irrigation and an additional heat supply to grow.

Kenya, Colombia and Ecuador, whose capital, Quito, is also called the “City of Eternal Spring", are the biggest exporters of roses. Lufthansa Cargo connects all of these flower-growing countries with the Frankfurt hub many times a week. To ensure the exceptionally high demand on Valentine's Day is catered for, special flights are arranged in addition to the scheduled connections. Lufthansa Cargo has developed the special Fresh/td product specifically for the transportation of perishable goods such as flowers and food. The airline’s sophisticated logistics, special refrigeration systems in the cargo hold and, not least, the expertise of the producers in the exporting countries ensure that the roses are fresh on arrival at their destinations.

Following harvesting, the flowers are taken as fast as possible from the plantation for packaging and then from there directly to aircraft. This ensures they still retain all their splendour on landing 2 at Frankfurt Airport. Transport onwards to destinations all across Europe is coordinated from there.