Air cargo is an essential part of global trade, allowing businesses to quickly and safely transport goods across the world. As a result, understanding the basics of air freight, including the different types of services, safety procedures, and general tips, is essential for any business looking to optimize their international shipping. This article will provide an overview of air freight services and general transportation in the air. With the right preparation and understanding, air freight can be a reliable and cost-effective way to move your goods around the world.
What is Air Freight?
Air freight is the transport of goods by aircraft. Air freight is often used when it is necessary to transport goods quickly or when the goods are too large for other forms of shipping. Air freight is the fastest way to transport goods internationally, often taking only a few days from departure to arrival. But why would you choose to send your products by air when sea freight could be significantly cheaper? While other types of shipping, such as sea freight, can be cheaper, air freight is ideal for situations when goods need to be delivered quickly and over long distances. If your goods are time sensitive or perishable, or if you are shipping large or heavy items, air freight is generally the best option. Air freight may also be the best option if your goods need to be imported through a specific airport. In these cases, it might be difficult to find a cheaper sea freight alternative.
Types of Air Freight Services
As with other forms of international transportation, you will run into several different types of air freight services. We collected a few of the most common ones.
By far the most expensive option is charter air freight. Charter air freight is a one-time flight booked by a client to move their goods. It is typically more flexible and quicker than the other alternatives. Charter air freight may be a good option if you have one shipment with a specific date and time that needs to arrive at a specific place, but it has its risks and downsides as well. One risk of an air charter is not being able to find an adequate aircraft and/or crew in the proper location and with the available flight hours to support your need.
Another type is the on-board courier, which is ideal for smaller packages or even only documents that can fit into a carry-on bag. It checks in your freight as luggage on a passenger airline. This often only costs the price of the airline ticket plus a fee for administration and margin.
If you have regularly-planned air shipment on a specific route, then commercial air freight is the optimal option for you. Some companies even reserve a certain capacity with a passenger airline to ensure that they always have available space to meet the demand that they receive. It has its risks because in the end the pilot has to decide if the weight of the plane is ok, and if he or she needs to choose between your freight and something more important, then your cargo might lose priority even if If was booked in advance. Since airlines are on a very strict schedule they won’t wait for your package either, if the delivery is not on time.
How can you optimize?
Choose the right airline: Air freight carriers can vary drastically in terms of speed and price, so you should carefully select an airline to ensure that your goods arrive and are transported at an affordable rate. You can look at customer reviews on sites to understand which companies are best to work with.
Be aware of peak seasons: For air freight, the time of the year can have a significant effect on costs. For example, you may find that it is cheaper to ship goods between September and November, as it is off-peak for many airlines. Avoid holidays and weekends, as many airlines charge higher rates during these times.
Consolidate shipments: Consolidating multiple shipments onto one aircraft reduces the cost per shipment. It also means that fewer aircraft are being used, which reduces the carbon emissions from air freight. You should, however, be careful when consolidating shipments, as many airlines have restrictions on which types of shipments can be consolidated.
Air freight is an essential part of global trade, allowing businesses to smartly and safely transport goods across the world. While air freight is often expensive, it is often a good choice for high-value goods that need to be delivered quickly.