Commercial airfreight has been available to international buyers and sellers for little more than 50 years but it has made up for lost time, taking off with vigour in the mid 1970s with the arrival of the wide-bodied aircraft like the Boeing 747. Today, while the two million tonnes of airfreight a year that pass through UK airports is equivalent to less than one per cent of the size of the UK’s ocean freight volumes, by trade value it represents around a fifth of Britain’s exports. On a global basis, air cargo volumes are predicted to grow by more than six cent a year in the 20 years from 1998 to 2017, by which time it has been estimated by Boeing that another 1,000 jet freighters will have joined the 1998 fleet of over 1,400.
Speed of transit is often cited as the prime reason for using airfreight, particularly on valuable or perishable goods and items susceptible to damage or changing tastes – hence the copious use of airfreight by the IT sector. But there are many reasons for using airfreight in overall supply chain strategy, often opening new possibilities to substitute stock for speed and reduce levels of inventory – or even make to order – collect payment for exports more speedily and reduce in-transit risks and consequently packaging levels and insurance.
International air carriage is subject to the Warsaw Convention of 1929, amended by various updates and protocols under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a specialised aviation agency of the United Nations. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is concerned with the commercial aspects of aviation and is the carriers’ representative organisation that sets standards of training and regulation aimed at improving the overall airline product. Within the framework of IATA is also the Cargo Agency Agreement which sets out the terms and conditions incumbent upon agents and forwarders who tender freight to airlines for carriage.
Please contact FirstBase Freight, Tel: 0844 272 6731 for further information.