Monday, February 24, 2014

Approx. 90 "Blueberry" Cargo Flights including 747's and MD-11's flew from Tucuman (TUC) in late 2013

The northwestern Argentine province of Tucuman has some 1200 hectares (about 3000 acres) dedicated to the cultivation of blueberries which are harvested in the southern hemisphere springtime months of October and November.   

The blueberry producers started to export their harvest in 2007 by air freight with only three flights carrying 120 tons operating from Tucuman (TUC) that year, mostly to the U.S.  Every year since then has seen exports and cargo flights grow:

2008  15 flights    600 tons
2009  22 flights    773 tons
2010  31 flights  1478 tons
2011  59 flights  2705 tons
2012  71 flights  3021 tons

A record 90 flights were expected for the 2013 season.

Last year, a special refrigerated warehouse measuring some 1640 sq. meters (approx. 17,650 sq. ft.) capable of storing 150 tons of blueberries was constructed at Tucuman (TUC) to make the temporary storage of large shipments of the fruit easier with less of a concern of spoilage.

The first freight flight of the season was operated by TAM Cargo 767-300F, PR-ADY, on 11Oct13 followed by LAN Cargo 777-200F, N778LA, that departed Tucuman (TUC) for Miami (MIA) on 13Oct13.  

Atlas Air 747-400F, N477MC, arrived in Tucuman (TUC) on 18Oct13, marking the first-ever visit by a 747 to the airport, departing later to Miami (MIA) with 100 tons of blueberries.  Two Lufthansa MD-11F's followed on 21Oct13 and 28Oct13 and a Centurion MD-11F was also expected to operate out of the airport.   


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