Perishables airfreight agent Tulpin Airmarketing has begun flying Egyptian strawberries into Frankfurt’s Hahn airport for onward transport to the UK.

Each week an average of around 40 tonnes of strawberries arrive at Hahn aboard EgyptAir freighter aircraft from Cairo. Much of the fruit is then trucked to Ostend for the final leg to the UK.

Tulpin’s HQ and main airport entry point for fresh produce is at Belgium’s Ostend-Bruges airport, but managing director, Alain Tulpin, expects his company’s business through Hahn to grow.

“Regional airports are the best option for perishables in terms of service, flexibility and last but not least, pricing - Frankfurt-Hahn airport has all of them and fits our strategy,” said Tulpin.

Last autumn, Tulpin began shipping Egyptian spring onions through Hahn en route to London and Birmingham. And Egypt is set to continue as major source of supply when the strawberry season closes at the end of March with the arrival of peaches and nectarines in late April followed by grapes at the end of May.

“If you have a reliable logistics and trucking operation in place you can get to Ostend from Hahn in 5.5 to 6.5 hours,” said Tulpin. “Feedback from importers suggests it's a schedule they can live with.”

However, he admits that the company’s choice of Hahn has largely been determined by the airlines.

“Ultimately, they decide which airports they are going to use and this is more than ever the case with fuel such a crucial [cost] issue,” said Tulpin. “With perishables traffic, carriers always have an eye on the potential of southbound loads and Germany is a major departure point of air cargo exports so in using Hahn there is scope to generate high yields on return traffic.”