Decoding Air Freight: All you need to know!

Shipping products on time to buyers is a critical element in the import-export trade. Sea and air are the two most preferred routes for shipping goods to international markets. With the increasing demand for Indian products across the globe, sellers need to bank on reliable methods that are quick and can meet the expected delivery timelines of the buyers. Between sea and air, Air Shipment scores much better when it comes to providing tracking information and faster delivery.

Air freight provides a real-time tracking facility along with a transparent and smooth experience for both the buyers and sellers. As a result, sellers prefer air freight as a transport medium when it comes to delivering a superior customer experience. By opting for air freight, a seller can drastically reduce the time taken and advancement in aero technology makes it a smooth experience.

How does air freight shipping work?

The air freight shipment process is easy to understand and complete for a seller. Here are the steps involved:

Pickup of Shipment

After the final weight of the shipment has been calculated, the goods are handed over to the warehouses along with the details of the products and required licenses.

Labeling and verification

Once the goods to be shipped have been received by the warehouse, it goes through quality checks. After the tests have been completed, the products are labelled, and the airway bill is prepared.

Customs clearance at departure

The Customs department at the departure port completes a thorough check to ensure that no prohibited items are being exported. The details of the shipment are verified and custom duty is charged if any.

Loading and departure

The goods are then loaded onto a Unit Load Device (ULD) and sent to the aircraft for transportation.


Once the goods reach their destination airport, the goods are unloaded, and relevant paperwork is prepared.

Customs clearance at arrival

The Customs department at the arrival destination checks the goods thoroughly as per the import regulations of the country and clears them for entry.


Once the package is cleared, it is transported to the respective final destination.

Documents needed for air freight

A seller needs to submit some documents for sending goods via air transport. Here are some of the documents required for air freight:

Shipper’s Letter of Instruction

This is a letter from the shipper which provides information on how the goods should be handled during shipment and about the delicacy of the goods.

Packing List

It is a list that includes information about the contents of the products being exported

Commercial Invoice

This is a copy of the invoice which is mainly required for customs clearance.

Airway bill

An airway bill is issued by the carrier that is responsible for handling the goods during shipment. It can also be used for tracking goods, as a guide for handling goods and for customs clearance.

What are the pros and cons of air freight?

There are clear pros and cons of using air freight. These can be explained as follows:


The network of airlines connected with domestic and international destinations helps ensure that the goods are transported with ease.

As air freight has a high level of security and checks, the possibility of theft is minimal in the case of air freight.

The time taken in air freight is much lesser compared to ocean freight.


As compared to the other modes, the volume of goods that can be sent via air freight is restricted. Therefore, it may not be possible to send bulk orders via air freight.

Air freight is expensive as compared to ocean freight. Due to this, sellers end up paying more as compared to other mediums.

Weather conditions can play an important role in air freight and hamper timelines. The condition of the weather can delay the delivery of the shipment.

Click here – Meeting Your Branding Needs in 2023 with Custom Mailer Boxes

Why choose Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) for air freight?

Amazon’s global logistics make it easy and seamless to ship goods via air. Indian exporters can choose Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and send their shipments to various parts of the world. As Amazon provides end-to-end support including packing, labelling, delivery and customer service, FBA helps a business stay focused on its core activities. Amazon has a dedicated storage space of over 150 million sq feet and has handled 29 million units in various parts of the world. A seller can register as part of the Amazon Global Selling program and establish an e-commerce export business from India with ease.


How is a courier different from air freight?

Air courier is more expensive as compared to air freight. However, air courier ensures that the goods are delivered to the doorstep of the buyer.

Is air freight more expensive than ocean freight?

Yes, shipping using the air route is more expensive compared to shipping done using the sea route.