During the pre-Valentine’s Day period, Schiphol will handle almost 4,000 tonnes of flowers, including the ever-popular roses. This represents an increase compared to the same period over the past four years. The increase can be explained by the demand for flowers during this period, in combination with the space available for air cargo carriers to take off and land at Schiphol.
Most of the flowers come from Kenya, Colombia, Ecuador and Ethiopia, where flowers can grow well in a favourable climate. In order to keep the flowers fresh during the flight, it is important for them to be transported at a temperature between 2 and 7 degrees Celsius. The flowers are also transported in improved packaging that allows more flowers to be taken on board per flight. This new packaging was designed by the Holland Flower Alliance, a collaboration between Royal FloraHolland, KLM Cargo and Schiphol.
After the flowers land at Schiphol, they will be available for auction in Aalsmeer, Naaldwijk and Rijnsburg within a few hours. Some flowers even undergo a transfer as they are headed for Russia, China, Thailand or another country as their final destination.
Increase in air cargo
Schiphol processed 1.66 million tonnes of cargo in 2021. This represents an increase of almost 16% compared to 2020 (1.44 million tonnes) and 5% compared to 2019 (1.57 million tonnes). As there are fewer passengers at Schiphol these days, fewer passenger aircraft are flying. A number of slots – the allotted time that an airline is given to take off or land – can therefore be used for cargo flights. Together with partners from the cargo sector, Schiphol was involved in the transport of medical devices and coronavirus vaccines (among other things) in 2021. The high-tech goods flow is the largest at Schiphol, followed by flowers.