top of page

Advantages and disadvantages of air freight

Air transport is the latest form of transportation, and it is truly a treasure of the 20th century.

Given the extensive market of transport services in which the transport of large quantities of goods in different means of transportation, there is a wide choice of modes of transport, means of transport and transport route.

Land transport was the first method used to ship goods. As humans evolved, so did the modes of transportation. Air transportation became the latest way to ship products.

The two world wars gave an enormous impetus to air transport development in almost all countries. Air transport development in the 20th century was more striking than all other forms of transportation.

Who would have thought that, after the historic flight of the Wright brothers in 1903, the aircraft would become one of the most important means of transportation in just three generations?

Improvements followed one after another - jet engines replaced propellers, supersonic speeds, radar control introduction, bigger aircraft, and vertical takeoff.

Air transport involves the transport of passengers, cargo, and mail by air.

The great advantage of air traffic lies in its speed, but the cost of its use is very high. Nevertheless, in many countries, it is quite competitive with rail transport and used more often. It has no physical barriers, as in the case of other modes of transportation.

Freight traffic in the air transport market has always been smaller than passenger transport.

Due to the growing number of aircraft with higher working characteristics such as increased payload, changes in the business policy of airlines, and the emergence of carriers specializing in the urgent transport of shipments, freight traffic has recently been growing steadily.

The advent of the Internet facilitated the airline's businesses, ensured higher reliability, and accelerated air freight development.

Advances in technology, electronic documentation and paper reduction, have greatly facilitated the operations of all sectors, including air transport.

Air transport provides uninterrupted travel over land and sea. Besides, it is the fastest means of transportation, but also the most expensive. Investments in the purchase of aircraft and airport construction are enormous.

Air cargo transport is a faithful reflection of the global economy, especially trade, and plays a significant role in the value chain of global transportation and logistics.

Sending goods by air has been going on for about a century and brings with it certain advantages and disadvantages.

Freight forwarders face multiple risks and challenges when shipping cargo by air, including weight, size, and price restrictions.

Simultaneously, there are several advantages to air traffic, including fast transit times, shipment tracking, and low risk of damage, loss, and theft.

The most essential and prominent advantages of air transport are the following:

1. High speed

Air traffic's primary advantage is a high-speed, which cannot be achieved by any other means of transport.

Air cargo is the fastest solution when you want to send freight from one place to another as soon as possible.

When sending shipments for which time is an essential factor, the aircraft is the best and most convenient choice.

In today's world, when time is the most crucial resource, aircraft make it possible to transport goods from one end of the world to the other in a time often shorter than one day.

2. Comfortable, fast and safe services

Air transport provides a regular, comfortable, efficient and fast service. Fast transport service reduces the risk of damage, theft, or spoilage of goods.

Apart from the speed itself, air traffic can undoubtedly boast of the comfort and safety of the transport service, which has also contributed to the constant growth of passenger air traffic.

Aircraft, as means of transport, is used in cases of transporting valuable and urgent shipments and for goods that require special conditions of carriage (money, weapons, military equipment, perishable products, etc.).

3. No investment in route and road maintenance

A unique feature of air transportation is that it does not need a specific surface line for its operations.

Infrastructure maintenance costs are lower than road and rail transport. It does not require roads or railways construction and maintenance.

Also, it does not emphasize the railway or road development, which is a tremendous financial advantage. Unlike other infrastructure sectors, airports burden the state budget less.

4. There are no physical barriers

There are no physical obstacles for aircraft. Airfreight is unique in that it can pick up and deliver goods anywhere in the world.

It is the shortest and most direct form of transport because the sea, mountains, and forests do not interfere with the transport route.

Air transport can be used to transport goods to or from areas not accessible by other means of transportation.

In situations where the use of different branches of transport is difficult or impossible, air transport is the only choice for supplying isolated and hard-to-reach areas.

Political boundaries are also not an obstacle, but the requirements of international law must be respected.

5. Easy access

Air cargo transportation development has brought continuous work in ​​its simplification. Advanced technology has enabled cargo transport users to track shipments through the right software.

The electronic documentation has led to a reduction in paper documentation, speeding up and simplifying the process of using air cargo transportation.

In the case of air transport, there is an elaborate flow of information on the flow of goods, i.e., there are systems that actively monitor shipments. It is a strictly prescribed service specific to air transport.

6. Rapid customs clearance

In air transport, customs formalities can be completed quickly, thus avoiding possible delays in obtaining authorization.

There are no complicated customs formalities in cargo air transport, which speeds up the process of transporting goods.

There are several essential documents used in air transport:

  1. air waybill (AWB) - air transport contract between the consignor and the carrier; it is unique for each shipment

  2. cargo - a detailed list of consignments transported by air

  3. NOTOC (notification to captain) - special notice to the captain to be met when transporting dangerous or sensitive goods

7. Most suitable for transporting light goods of high value

It is most suitable for the transport of perishable goods that require fast delivery and light products of high value over long distances.

One of the main advantages of air logistics providers is a high level of safety. The apparent reason is strict security controls over air cargo.

All cargo delivered by air must be provided in a secure supply chain or inspected at airports. Fast delivery also allows freight forwarders to deliver valuables and perishable goods on time with minimal risk of damage.

When it comes to shipping valuable products, security during shipment should be a top priority. With air logistics and air transportation, you never have to worry about the way of handling the package or whether it can get lost on the road.

With minimal aircraft handling, your goods stay safe. Air transport is more reliable than railways, where manipulative losses and thefts are much higher.

Despite its many advantages, air transport also has its drawbacks.

1. Price

The most significant disadvantage is the higher costs of air transport compared to sea and road transport.

According to the airline's price per kilometer, the aircraft is the most expensive means of transportation.

Airfares can be extremely high. Usually, shipping by air is much more costly than land or sea freight for the same distance.

Air transport costs are calculated primarily by weight, while sea and land freight costs are calculated according to quantity.

2. Smaller load capacities

One of the disadvantages of air traffic is the weight limit. It is one of the reasons why air transport has not yet taken on the competition it could have in the transport market.

The aircraft carrying capacity is tiny, so it is not suitable for transporting cheap and abundant goods.

Aircraft have relatively limited space compared to enormous cargo ships, limiting the size and weight of the air cargo that can be handled. Therefore, every seat on the plane is precious and worth a lot of money.

3. Flight delay due to bad weather

Adverse weather conditions are an important external factor affecting delays in the air traffic system. Fog, snow, heavy rain, or hurricanes can cause regular flight cancellation and suspension of air travel.

Although weather conditions can cause problems with land and maritime services, they create a bigger problem in air transport.

Weather conditions can have a significant adverse effect on air transport, especially in situations where accurate delivery times are required.

4. Aircraft failures and damage

Compared to other modes of transport, the chances of breakdowns are high, so the risk of delays is higher.

The primary cause of extraordinary aircraft failures are errors caused by poor aircraft maintenance due to human improvidence.

According to research, the highest risk can occur when landing a cargo aircraft on the runway.

Due to the force of the aircraft's impact from the ground, parts of it can be damaged. Depending on the type of dangerous goods, there may be a collision with airport facilities or an aircrew crash.

When it comes to the transport of explosives, there is a risk of explosion during the air flight, which causes air pollution, loss of crew, and high economic and other costs.

5. Significant investments in staff and maintenance of aircraft and airports

Air transport requires a more significant amount of initial capital investment for the construction and maintenance of aircraft, airports, special lighting, and meteorological stations.

It also requires trained, experienced and qualified staff that involves more investment.

To avoid extraordinary breakdowns and aircraft delays, continuous and long-term investments are needed, leading to higher costs. It is necessary to increase the work and staff quality to cut the number of errors.

A significant problem with investment is the financial requirements that affect labor cost reduction, which directly reduces the quality of maintenance.

The heavy workload of technical personnel in aircraft maintenance increases the risk of error due to the influence of the human factor.

6. Specialized skills

Air transport requires professional skill and a high degree of competence to work.

Aviation personnel must have the necessary education, be professionally trained, meet particular health and other conditions for performing a specific professional job.

Airlines use freight forwarding services because freight forwarders are professionally trained and present in the transport market.

Every freight forwarder that performs shipment operations must have the proper professional training and meet the prescribed technical requirements.

7. Legal restrictions

There are several legal restrictions imposed by many countries in the interests of their national unity and peace.

Historically, air traffic has developed under the auspices and control of state authorities.

In Europe, this mostly meant the monopoly of domestic carriers and public administration or public ownership of airports.

Accordingly, international air transport has been developed, based on bilateral international agreements with unusually strict control of market access and carrier ownership rules.

The advantages of air transport in general far outweigh its disadvantages.

In today's world, the speed of delivery and dispatch of goods and information is a significant factor that enables a country's economic development.

As the quantities of transported goods increase, technology and transport processes improve, freight forwarders must expand the offer of freight forwarding services and follow the faster development of the market.

Therefore, they will have to make sure that each type of goods arrives at the destination at a specific time, meeting the growing requirements and needs and desires of service users.

Faster, simpler, and better service of delivery of goods and products becomes imperative. Transportation time is an essential factor in the transport of goods, so high-speed air transport services are becoming more and more critical.

The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing the ideal transportation is that it all depends on the situation.

If the speed is essential to you, select air transportation, but don't allow it to affect your earnings negatively. However, if there is no need to hurry, choose road or sea transport as the delivery of the goods will go at a lower cost.

When it comes to shipping your goods, we believe you want to choose the best service. Even over long distances, you can be sure that your products with the Hubbig digital platform will be in the safest hands.



bottom of page