Yubari melon exclusive chartered flights from New Chitose to Haneda
Operation of All Nippon Airways chartered air cargo flights to exclusively transport Yubari melons produced in the city of Yubari in central Hokkaido, from New Chitose to Haneda began on June 14. The flights, which operate once a day, 4 days a week from Monday to Thursday, will continue until early August. The flights are part of measures to utilize aircraft, as passenger demand has decreased due to the Coronavirus pandemic. After arriving at Haneda Airport, the melons are transported as gifts to individual households as well as to wholesale markets around the Tokyo metropolitan area.
Yubari melons can only be stored for short periods. Until now, they were transported in refrigerated trucks or passenger aircraft, but this is the first time that melons have been transported in exclusive cargo planes. As passenger demand has decreased due to the Coronavirus pandemic, smaller planes are being used and only limited amounts of cargo can be carried in their holds, meaning the heavy melons cannot be transported in the usual way.
The aircraft chartered this time was ANA’s medium-sized B767, as part of a plan to utilize medium-sized aircraft that have seen a decrease in flight time due to the pandemic.
The melons were shipped from the Yubari City Agricultural Cooperative, which sent approximately 2,500 on the first day. The melons were harvested in the morning before being boxed and loaded into containers, which were then transported to the hold of the medium-sized aircraft. On this day, vegetables such as asparagus from other regions were loaded into the remaining space but from late June, when harvests reach their peak, the number of melons is expected to increase to approximately 7,500, and the planes will carry only melons.
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