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Have you heard of the NEW state-of-the-art Airglades International Airport – paired with a full-service logistics center where perishables are THE PRIORITY? Isn’t it time?

Airglades International Airport is a new perishable logistics center and airport being developed in South/Central Florida-100 miles north of Miami. The initial investors are well-known leaders in the agriculture business: Florida Cargo Fresh, Inc., Hilliard Brothers of Florida, Ltd., and the United States Sugar Corporation-a collective group of perishable producers who understand the needs of perishables: efficiency, immediacy, affordability, temperature control, and fresh product to the consumer.


The immense advantages of Airglades will benefit all facets of the floriculture industry and provide strategic positioning to solve many of the supply chain issues that currently face the industry:

    • 100 miles north of Miami- AIRGLADES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (AIA)
    • Central location with land space to expand
    • Multi-modal connectivity capabilities
    • Prime location to connect fresh flowers (domestic and international), distributors, logistics companies, plants, hard goods, fulfillment centers, educators… AND other perishables

Airglades International Airport and Logistics Center will offer an unbroken cold chain with a more efficient, dedicated processing path for perishables. Everything is under one roof, unlike existing facilities at other airports, which are increasingly outdated, overcrowded, and spread across multiple sites. Airglades is designed to allow importers/suppliers to locate all of its business under one roof and avoid current traffic bottlenecks in cargo import and trucking.

Finally… perishable products will be the sole priority! This will allow suppliers/importers to get fresher products on the road faster, improve service levels, and increase overall yield on products, especially during peak holiday seasons.

How will this be achieved?

    • Less flight and taxi times due to less gridlock, bottlenecks, and congestion
    • Unbroken cold chain – flowers not sitting on the tarmac out of refrigeration
    • On-premises USDA/APHIS and CBP operations
    • RIFD cargo tracking
    • Access to cargo in four hours or less
    • Ample receiving, storage, and production space
    • Capability to accommodate holiday shipping peaks

Airglades has already been approved as a port of entry by the FAA and is supported by all local and federal agencies including the USDA, APHIS, US Customs & Border Protection, and the TSA. All agencies will operate under one roof, which will create more efficiency, fresher products, faster traceability, and lower costs.

How will this be achieved?

    • On-site inspection agencies and logistics providers
    • Direct shipping from perishable cargo center
    • Anticipated lower labor and utility rates
    • “No surprise,” predictable operational prices

Airglades Airport will offer an ideal platform for the collective floriculture industry to innovate, vertically integrate, and build its competitive advantage by using e-commerce fulfillment, on-site store show-and-tells, education, marketing, cross-docking, and other strategies. Sales are on the rise, and Airglades will offer a once-in-a-generation opportunity to innovate, expand, and increase its market share.

How will this be achieved?

    • Coordination between regional economic development and educational professionals for current talent pipeline training and long-term potential workforce success
    • Hendry County Workforce Education and Adult School, providing training for the construction and operating phases of Airglades Airport expansion
    • Hendry County has also been supportive of Immokalee Technical College’s (iTech) proposed move into the Glades County Regional Training Facility in Moore Haven, which boasts 40,000 square feet of available training space with room for growth

Airglades Airport will help meet the sustainability goals of the floriculture industry by supporting a more efficient business model and better use of its natural resources. 

How will this be achieved?

    • Reduced flight time and taxi time for the airlines
    • 100 miles closer to the customer (saving truck miles)
    • Elimination of air and ground bottlenecks that waste fuel
    • All affiliated services under one roof: FAA, USDA, APHIS, US Customs & Border Protection, and the TSA
    • Faster product to the retailer and end consumer, reducing aged product and avoidable waste

So how is Airglades DIFFERENT from the others who have tried to develop better airports for the floriculture industry?

In the past 35 years, there have been multiple failed attempts by other airport-area locations to attract major perishable shipments outside of Miami – namely, large-volume fresh cut flower shipments which require cargo freighters. Notable examples of these unsuccessful attempts are areas surrounding Dallas, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Chicago.

Why didn’t these previous efforts work?
These airports promoted various “advantages,” particularly the shelf-life advantages of the flowers arriving closer to their markets. However, they failed to consider the following serious disadvantages:

  • Increased air freight costs

One of the main limitations of operating freighter aircraft beyond Miami is that it requires removing cargo in order to add the additional fuel to reach these proposed locations.

These aircraft depart from high elevation airports such as Bogota, Medellin, and Quito, which all impose weight restrictions. The combination of greater distance to these proposed destinations, additional fuel, and less payload would have increased the air cargo rate dramatically to these proposed airports. Obviously, the market could not bear these additional costs.

** Airglades (AIA) is different because it does not have these limitations, as the actual flight time to Airglades is LESS than the flight time to the Miami airport.

  • Shortage of scalable facilities

Available land is of great importance for affiliate companies, expansions, and other services surrounding the airport. Especially today, as e-commerce is growing at a fast pace, so must the availability of land to expand into the future.

** Airglades is a prime location for offices and additional warehouse space. 300 acres of commercially-zoned property is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Customs and USDA presence

Clearing services at other airports have not been as fast and efficient.

** Airglades will have this efficiency. The USDA-APHIS knowledge and experience, which is currently in MIA, will also be at Airglades. And better yet… these services at Airglades will all be under ONE roof in an unbroken cold chain!

  • The advantages of combining air freight and trucking capacity efficiency

Southbound cargo is necessary to economically operate freighters and to keep the inbound perishable air cargo rates lower. This southbound cargo arrives in Miami by ocean, air, and truck and is consolidated and shipped by large shippers (freight forwarders).

Other airports would not have been able to offer this as effectively. Without the southbound business, the northbound perishable rate would have to be much higher to compensate for the lower southbound cargo revenue.

** Due to its proximity, Airglades does not have this limitation.


The optimal supply chain is an efficient, on-time process between a company and its suppliers to distribute the freshest and fastest product at the most economical cost. In doing so, the customer wins and will return for more.  

  • Isn’t it time that our $36 Billion floral business is the first priority on the supply chain?
  • Isn’t it time to be able to manage and expand our holiday business without space, traffic, and gridlock limitations?
  • Isn’t it time to advance our speed-to-shelf and authentically preserve the cold chain with everything under one roof: arrival, off-loading, receiving, inspecting, processing and outbound?
  • Isn’t it time to have room to expand into modern, multi-channel solutions for the consumer?
  • Isn’t it time to advance our sustainability efforts in NEW ways?

The future is NOW! 

Learn more about Airglades International Airport and Full-Service Logistics Center and request an online meeting at


By Cindy Hanauer, Trustee Emeritus; American Floral Endowment