What is Air Freight?

In intercontinental logistics, sea and air freight becomes prominent. In sea transport, the most important advantage offered is the low costs and in air freight it is speed and safety. (Boeing, 2012:8) However, as the process of loading, unloading and handling the cargo at the airport is a slow one, speed loses its quality as an advantage. In long distances, air freight has many advantages for both commodity and passenger transportation. Nevertheless, in air freight, unit costs are higher than in other means of transport. Therefore, in long distances, mostly small and valuable cargo items are transported.

During the cargo and passenger transfer in air transport, road transport is required. The superstructure, infrastructure and technical competency of the airport play a significant role in transferring the cargo to the hinterland by road transport vehicles. The storage and transfer function of the airport is determined by several factors such as technological competency, equipment and space. However, air freight is a means of transport that does not require any investment on transportation other than on airports.

Air freight, like sea freight, plays an important role mostly in international trade especially for small countries. As a result of improving transnational relations, air transport has been developing and the demand for it has been increasing. Factors such as trade growth, production of wide-body aircrafts thanks to advancements in technology, new service processes are implications of future popularity of the business.

Characteristics of Air Transport

  • The biggest advantage of air transport is the speed factor. As the world becomes more global and gets smaller, speed becomes an important factor in competition. Therefore, air transport becomes more popular in pursuit of speed.
  • The fact that investment on the sector is relatively new reflects positively on the service quality.
  • Zero error policy in services is adopted, so keeping up with the technology and investment on workforce training are crucial for safe and secure transportation. As a result, even a 1 percent margin of error cannot be tolerated and safety becomes the priority.
  • It plays a significant role in long distance shipping of perishable goods (cut flowers, fruit etc.) and of items that lose their up-to-date quality (newspapers, magazines etc.).
  • It is highly preferred as a result of the security it provides in shipment of high value products.
  • Meticulous handling and loading minimize the risk of losses.
  • Lack of frequent handling reduces the packaging costs.
  • There is minimum risk of losing or misplacing cargo items which reflects positively upon insurance costs.
  • It is also a common preference for sample and fragile item transportation.