Air shipping is the transfer of goods from one location to another via an air carrier. Air freight and air shipping mean the same thing and are often used interchangeably.
The air carriers travel through defined air routes that are either meant for commercial or passenger travel. Many people prefer air shipping over maritime transport as planes offer a lot more dexterity regarding where the plane can land and take off.
Historically, air shipping became popular at the turn of the last century. Though ships, railways, and means of ground transport were quite effective, introducing air travel to the shipping industry made transportation a lot more time-friendly and cost-effective.
Once a price has been arranged by an air freight agency and the customer, the goods will usually be packed, checked at the origin airport, and loaded onto the plane.
Though air charter services that reserve the full flight to a single delivery exist, typically, a single air carrier contains shipments for multiple passengers. In that case, the transportation schedule of the delivery is determined by the local airlines.
Once the plane has reached the destination airport, the goods will go through another inspection before being released. The freight agency will then deliver the goods to the pre-arranged location.
Air shipping is generally more expensive than sea freight. This is primarily because of the fuel consumption and operational charges demanded by the planes. Plus, given the limited capacity of aeroplanes, many customers are constantly lined up to book deliveries.
Air shipping also doesn’t allow certain materials like explosives, gases, toxic chemicals, strong magnetic instruments, etc. More importantly, aeroplanes have a significant impact on the environment. The aircraft industry is estimated to account for about 3.5% of the global emissions of greenhouse gases.
Compared to the 2020's air cargo statistics, which were strongly determined by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 shows massive growth in the UK air shipping industry.
The rates of air travel have sharply increased since February. As new variants of COVID-19 are still feared, and vaccinations haven’t reached the ideal population group, there is still a significant lack in the passenger side of revenue.
However, air cargo is showing a steady aptitude as many passenger aircraft are being used to set up a network of cargo-only operations.
As many companies are staggered by the unpredictable maritime and ground transport patterns, the air shipping industry has captured a renewed interest and is attracting new players.