Using air transport for international trade

  • Using air transport for international trade

    Using air transport for international trade

    Air transport offers numerous advantages for international trade, depending on your requirements. It can:

    • deliver items quickly over long distances
    • give you high levels of security for sensitive items
    • be used for a range of goods

    However, you should consider the following issues:

    • air transport can involve higher costs than other options, and is not suitable for all goods
    • flights are subject to delay or cancellation
    • you will need to pay taxes at each airport you use
    • fuel and currency surcharges will usually be added to freight costs
    • further transportation may be needed from the destination airport to the final destination

    Make sure that the routes and timetables available for air transport suit your requirements.


    General cargo insurance is available in three levels – clauses A, B or C. Air transport can also use the Institute Cargo Clauses (Air). The level of insurance is reflected in the premiums that must be paid. You should try and match the level of your insurance to the potential risk that your consignment is put under. Consult a broker or freight forwarder for advice. See the guide on insurance for international trade.

    Documents and regulations

    The Air Waybill sets out the contract between your business and the carrier you’re using. The e-freight project aims to remove all paperwork from air cargo transportation. Find out about the e-freight scheme on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website.

    See the guide on international trade paperwork.

    If you intend to move dangerous goods by air you must comply with strict IATA rules. To ensure that you follow the regulations you can purchase a dangerous goods regulations compliance kit on the IATA website.

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