Handling of Fresh Cut Flowers for Air Transport

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The market for cut flowers has become a global one and air transport is the transport system of choice for fresh cut flowers. The handling of fresh cut flowers; needing a specific approach has become to some extent the specialty of Aisha Flowers.


Industry analysts stress the importance of quality and reliability in the increasingly competitive global market for cut flowers. The most important aspect of quality is ‘freshness’ and vase life, and these aspects depend on optimum postharvest handling.

Loss of quality of stems, leaves, or flower parts may result in rejection in the marketplace. In fresh cut flowers loss of quality may result from one of several causes, including wilting or abscission of leaves and/or petals, yellowing of leaves, and geotropic or phototropic bending of scapes and stems. In thinking about factors that affect the life of fresh cut flowers and how to extend that life, it’s important first to understand the diverse causes of quality loss.

Ina global scale air transport is preferred compared to surface modes (truck, sea container, etc.). The greatest challenge has been the maintenance of the cold chain and avoiding multiple handling during freight connections, loading and offloading.

Because of the dramatic effects of transport temperatures on subsequent vase life and the propensity for overheating of packed flowers, they should be transported at close to the optimal temperature (0°C for most species). Most airlines systems already exist for aircraft transportation of flowers under controlled temperatures.

Like many marketing channels, for example the British mass market chains and the Dutch auctions; Aisha Flowers have internal quality control systems that provide a check on quality of flowers. The most important quality parameter is “freshness” or vase life. This parameter is difficult to assess visually, but because of its importance, producers and receivers should set up a “quality control” program that would involve evaluation of the vase life of representative flowers on a continuing basis.

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