Whether you’re considering a home move or want to transport goods for your business, shipping them by air is definitely one of the more popular options. This is one of the reasons why, according to IATA, air cargo makes up over 30% of worldwide trade. 

But why is air cargo so popular? How does it compare with other options? What is air shipment most suitable for? Let’s take a closer look.

What is air shipment?

Air shipment or air freight refers to any cargo that is transported by aeroplane. Although it is typically more expensive than other options, it is often considered one of the most effective and cost-efficient methods. 

What is air shipment used for?

Although almost anything can be shipped by air, this method is particularly well suited for small and urgent deliveries, including high-value or time-sensitive goods (ideally when the shipping cost is less than 20% of the item value). 

Depending on the size of the shipment, you can either use a single shipping company for express air shipment or choose multiple carriers for international air freight.

What can you send as an air shipment?

  • Equipment, machinery and accessories 
  • Medical equipment or products such as vaccines and drugs
  • Expensive paintings, sculptures or other artworks
  • Luxury products
  • Live animals/pets
  • Plants
  • Products for events and fairs
  • Spare parts for the aerospace industry and for automobiles (land vehicles)
  • Apparel, shoes, utensils, etc.
  • Electronic goods
  • Intercontinental urgent mail, parcels and urgent goods

What cannot be sent via air shipment?

Items that are considered hazardous cannot be transported by air. This includes flammable, toxic, or corrosive substances, infectious and toxic materials that pose a risk to public health, oxidizing agents and biochemical substances, magnetic items, and radioactive elements.

Why air freight is better for smaller goods:

When it comes to transporting goods, customs and harbour fees can be a significant expense, often surpassing the cost of transportation itself. 

So, if you’re shipping a smaller volume and the cost difference between air and sea shipment is minimal, choose air freight. Similarly, to order crucial equipment/machinery urgently, air freight is the recommended option.

Biggest advantages of using air freight

  • Urgency: Use air freight when small volumes need to be shipped urgently, or when you need to transport products with a short shelf-life or those that require cold chains. 
  • Flexibility: The air freight network of delivery covers more destinations than all other forms of shipping. It can reach even smaller locations compared to other modes of transportation because it is not limited by roads, rails, or waterways. 
    • Storage:  Modern airports have state-of-the-art storage facilities for collecting and segregating cargo; building portable platforms on which goods can be stacked, stored, and moved; as well as inspection and scanning facilities. They will even have facilities for the storage of high-value items. In places like these, where all components are present (warehousing, cargo handling, inspection equipment and efficient customs procedures), cargo is typically shipped within a couple of hours, adding another benefit to using air freight.
    • Emergencies: Air freight is always used in times of natural disasters (floods, avalanches etc.), when other modes of transport cannot be operated, to ship essential commodities, medications, food and relief materials. 
  • Sending samples: In many industries, technical drawings, designs, and product patterns (samples and initial prototypes) need to be sent for customer/client approval before starting a full-scale production. Air transport is well-suited for such tasks.

Other advantages of air shipments

  • The risk of accidents and delays is very low in air freight, making it very a reliable shipping option.
  • Close proximity between production centres and airports makes it convenient for faster delivery of your shipment.
  • Provides agile and intercontinental transportation, with you being able to easily track your belongings.
  • A high level of safety and cargo preservation is ensured making air freight a secure option for shipping.

In summation, air freight offers one of the fastest, most secure and most reliable shipping methods, coupled with the widest range of shipping destinations. So, for all your urgent shipping needs, transportation of expensive valuables and moving of small volumes of commodities, opt for air freight services.

Have any questions related to air shipments or air freight? Drop us a message and our expert team will get in touch with you to answer all your queries.