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Lufthansa airlifts fruit & vegetables into the UK

Lufthansa chartered a special cargo flight to airlift fruit and vegetables to the UK.

The airline said it would fly 80 tonnes of food to Sheffield airport, where food would be distributed to supermarkets.

“Lufthansa Cargo is currently examining whether additional special cargo flights can be offered during the next days. We are also checking if a regular flight might be possible,” a spokesperson told the BBC.

“This could be with a freighter, but we are also examining if we could use passenger aircraft for freight flights only.”

The goods include lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries and citrus fruits. Lufthansa is considering more special cargo flights this week.

France shut the border on Sunday for 48 hours. The border has reopened but lorry drivers must have a negative Covid-19 test.

Supermarkets including Sainsbury’s and Tesco warned earlier this week that if the chaos around ports and borders was to continue, the UK could see shortages of lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and some citrus fruits.

A spokesman for the airport at Sheffield said that the number of Lufthansa flights a week would increase over January for perishable goods to avoid any more holdups over the border.

“We are currently experiencing a large volume of enquiries for flights as a result of border closures and we are handling additional flights, such as today’s, where possible.

“Naturally, this is already a busy period for the airfreight sector as a result of Christmas and COVID.”

“This planned increase is related to anticipated Brexit congestion, rather than the current issues effecting cargo waiting to cross the Dover Ferry. These flights are largely non-EU freight that usually travel through the continent.

“We have seen a general increase in freight traffic in the period since the pandemic began in March by around 40% year on year, up to 30,000 increased from circa 20,000 tonnes in 2019,” the spokesperson added.

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