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It may be flowery - but it's big business
The airline's freight division, Emirates SkyCargo, ships around 1,000 tonnes of flowers to Amsterdam each month. Monthly cargo capacity will leap by more than 400 tonnes when Emirates launches its daily passenger service to the Dutch capital from 1st May.
At the moment, the flowers come in huge Emirates SkyCargo freighters - six of them a week depart from Dubai and scoop up blooming tonnes of the stuff from Africa - in particular from Nairobi and Addis Ababa the capitals of Kenya and Ethiopia.
The 747-400 freighters then head to Amsterdam, where their consignments are offloaded and taken to the nearby town of Aalsmeer, where, firmly rooted, is the largest flower auction in the world.
Ram Menen, Emirates' Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo, said: "This is a delicate commodity to work with and we have special temperature controlled facilities to make sure the flowers remain at a constant cool temperature both in the air and on the ground. Our intricate process boosts the life of perishable commodities by 'preserving the cool chain' throughout the journey."
Mr Menen added: "As well as bringing shipments of flowers into Amsterdam, our freighters help export the flowers, via our international hub in Dubai. Figures show that exports from the Netherlands cover more than 60 percent of the world's fresh-cut plants, flowers and bulbs. It's big business!"
Although the airline's passenger services only start to the Netherlands after 1st May, Emirates SkyCargo has been serving the country for 15 years. The division is responsible for nearly a fifth of the airline's overall revenue.
Amsterdam will be the airline's second new route to blossom this year after Tokyo, which launches 28th March. Prague follows on 1st July, Madrid starts up 1st August and Dakar begins in September.
The Dubai-Amsterdam route will be served with a combination of 777-200LR and 777-300ER aircraft, providing a three-class configuration. Emirates will be the only carrier on the route boasting a First Class cabin. The passenger services will also boost SkyCargo's capacity by making use of the planes' belly hold.
As for the flowers, well, more will be required for Emirates' Gala event in Amsterdam on 17th March. First for a press conference at Sofitel The Grand, and then in the evening when hundreds of guests are expected to attend a high profile gathering at the Beurs van Berlage, serving as an introduction to the airline and Dubai.
"We all know that people enjoy receiving flowers and seeing them at special events like our new destination road shows. Few though will be familiar with the specialist care that is required to move them between countries. Needless to say, we get pretty busy around Valentine's day!" Mr Menen said.
From 1st May, EK flight 145 will leave Dubai daily at 0825hrs and arrive in Amsterdam at 1330hrs. From Amsterdam, EK 146 departs at 1530hrs, arriving in Dubai at 2359hrs.
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