Over a six-week period, the American Airlines Cargo team worked together to transport more than 22,000 pounds (or 10 tonnes) of sweet chestnuts each day between Rome's Fiumicino Airport (FCO) and New York (JFK) to ensure customers in the U.S. can enjoy the traditional treats during the festive season.
Used in the preparation of soups, desserts, flours and creams, the chestnuts originate in the Campania region of southwest Italy around Naples. They are harvested in the mountains and placed into jute sacks before being delivered to the American Airlines Cargo facility in Rome. Highly prized by confectioners, there is increasing demand for the sweet treats in America because of very limited local production.
The jute sacks are fixed onto wooden pallets and need to be kept away from direct sunlight while in transit before being loaded onto American's daily, Boeing 777-200 flights from the Italian capital to JFK.
The seasonal traffic usually only occurs for a couple of weeks in October, but with the growing demand, this year's season has already been extended and continues into November.
"Whether its chestnuts roasting on the streets of New York or families preparing a traditional stuffing to accompany their turkey at Thanksgiving or Christmas, our team in Italy has worked hard with our shipper and forwarder partners to deliver record tonnages of chestnuts this year," says Richard Hartmann, American's Regional Cargo Sales Manager.