How Does Air Freight Work?


Quick Answer

Air freight is the process through which packages, letters and even large commodity shipments are sent from buyer to seller using an airplane. There are three categories of shipments in air freight, which are divided by how much volume is used during the transport of the goods. Air freight's main advantage as a form of shipment is the speed at which goods arrive.

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How Does Air Freight Work?
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Full Answer

Some goods that are sent via air freight are of low volume and can fit inside a prebooked space on a commercial airline freight. Goods that are sent on commercial airlines are consolidated and packed in special containers and is placed in the plane's storage area. The average Boeing 747-400 commercial airplane has up to 150 cubic meters of storage space.

A larger volume of goods or packages can also be sent through air freight by using dedicated cargo planes. Large shipping companies, such as FedEx, typically own dedicated cargo planes that can fit up to 736 cubic meters of cargo. These cargo planes are fitted with electric rollers to easily move pallets of cargo into the interior of the plane.

For larger goods, such as cars or large industrial machines, a special class of cargo planes may be needed for air freight. These planes include the Airbus Beluga, which can carry up to 47 tons of cargo. The largest airplane transporter in the world, the Antonov An-225, can transport up to 254 tons.

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