European demand for festive New Zealand lamb in the run-up to Christmas accounts for a third of the annual shipment of lamb by Air New Zealand to the continent.
Every year, Air New Zealand helps New Zealand farmers send nearly three million kilogrammes of meat to international markets, primarily Europe and the United States. Approximately 30 per cent of that annual total is sent in the months of November and December alone.
Export channel manager for Air New Zealand Cargo Greg Edmonds says: “We carry around 900 thousand kilograms of lamb in chilled compartments in the bellies of our aircraft over the eight weeks leading up to Christmas. Most of it goes to the United Kingdom.”
Germany and Holland make up the big three European countries importing New Zealand lamb for Christmas and Air New Zealand has grown its meat programme to meet the needs of these two emerging markets.
“Rather than finish our responsibility at Cologne and Amsterdam airport, we have developed a unique solution that takes care of the journey from New Zealand all the way to the buyer’s door. It’s a service our customers love and it helps maximise sales for New Zealand producers,” says Edmonds.
In terms of fruit and vegetables, it is Central Otago cherries on top of the international Christmas wish list. Air New Zealand expects to carry more than 700,000 kilograms of local cherries over the summer season. That’s approximately 43 million individual cherries.
Central Otago apricots, North Island blueberries, strawberries and capsicums from greater Auckland and crayfish are other in-demand export items Air New Zealand transports around the world this time of year.