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Turkish florists rush to meet surge in UK demand after Queen’s death

Flowers in boxes are loaded onto an aircraft for delivery to Britain after a surge in orders following the death of Queen Elizabeth at Antalya International Airport in Antalya on Sept. 14, 2022.

Turkish florists are resorting to cargo planes instead of trucks as they rush to send as many flowers as they can to the United Kingdom to meet a deluge of orders after the death of Queen Elizabeth.

Orders for cut flowers have soared by 90 percent since the queen died, said Selcuk Celebi, a member of the Antalya Commodity Exchange, adding that Turkish florists were only able to meet about 40 percent of the demand.

“It is the end of the season in (the Mediterranean province of) Antalya. We are in a period where the production in the highlands in (the southern province of) Isparta is in decline,” Celebi told Reuters.

The rise in demand meant florists had to hire planes to deliver the flowers to Britain, which takes a day compared to a week by truck, Celebi said.

Turkish Airlines subsidiary Turkish Cargo said it had begun shipping more than 500,000 flowers, weighing some 13 tonnes, to England for the funeral from Antalya and Isparta.

“Turkish Cargo has delivered approximately four tons of flowers to London since the beginning of the week,” it said.

Between September 5 and 12, official data showed flower exports from Turkey to England increased by 40 percent, compared to last year.