Types of Air Cargo Transport Services
17 December 2023| By Just Aviation Team
Air cargo services are a vital component of the global supply chain, enabling businesses to move goods quickly and efficiently over long distances. However, not all types of cargo are the same, and each one has its own requirements and challenges for handling, storage, and transportation. Explore the various types of cargo that are transported by air, and how Just Aviation, a business flight support company, can help you with your air cargo service needs.
Air cargo is a vital component of the global supply chain, enabling businesses to move goods quickly and efficiently over long distances. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air cargo transports over US $6 trillion worth of goods annually, accounting for approximately 35% of world trade by value. But what types of cargo are transported by air, and what are the challenges and opportunities for the air cargo service industry?
Types of Air Cargo
When looking at the various types of cargo transported by air, they fall into two main groups: General Cargo and Special Cargo. Special Cargo is then divided up into smaller specialized sub-groups, each with its own requirements and regulations.
General cargo are items that do not require specific handling or storage conditions during transportation. These types of items are retail and most consumer goods (with the exception of mobile phones, tablets and laptops), dry goods, hardware, textiles, medical supplies, and more. General cargo encompasses about 80% of the total air cargo market, and is typically more straightforward in terms of packaging and handling requirements.
Special cargo are goods that have unique requirements for handling, storage, or transportation. These include:
These are goods that need to be kept within a certain temperature range to preserve their quality and safety. Examples are pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biotechnology products, fresh food, flowers, and more. Temperature-controlled cargo accounts for about 15% of the total air cargo market, and requires specialized containers, equipment, and procedures to ensure proper temperature management throughout the transport chain.
These are goods that pose a risk to health, safety, property, or the environment if not handled properly. Examples are explosives, flammable liquids, radioactive materials, corrosive substances, and more. Hazardous materials are subject to strict regulations and standards by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and national authorities. They require special packaging, labeling, documentation, and handling by trained personnel.
Heavy & Oversized Cargo
Transporting goods by plane that exceed the normal dimensions or weight limits of standard air cargo service containers or pallets. Examples are aircraft engines, industrial machinery, vehicles, and more. Heavy and oversized cargo requires special loading, unloading, and securing equipment and techniques, as well as careful planning and coordination with the air carrier and the airport authorities.
These are animals that are transported by air for various purposes, such as pets, livestock, zoo animals, research animals, and more. Live animals are subject to specific regulations and standards by the ICAO, the IATA, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). They require special cages, containers, documentation, and handling by trained personnel, as well as adequate food, water, ventilation, and temperature control during transportation.
High-Value & Fragile Cargo
Transporting goods by plane that have a high monetary value or are susceptible to damage or theft during transportation. Examples are jewelry, art, antiques, electronics, and more. High-value and fragile cargo requires enhanced security measures, such as seals, locks, alarms, and tracking devices, as well as special packaging, handling, and insurance to protect them from loss or damage.
Human Remains, Organs, & Tissue Samples
These are human body parts that are transported by air for various reasons, such as repatriation, burial, transplantation, research, and more. Human remains, organs, and tissue samples are subject to specific regulations and standards by the ICAO, the IATA, and the World Health Organization (WHO). They require special packaging, labeling, documentation, and handling by trained personnel, as well as appropriate temperature control and sanitation during transportation.
Business Jets and Air Cargo
Business jets are a type of aircraft that are designed and used for private, corporate, or government purposes, rather than for commercial passenger or cargo transportation. Business jets typically seat between 19 and 50 passengers, and offer more comfort, convenience, and flexibility than commercial flights. Business jets can also be used for air cargo transportation, especially for special cargo that requires speed, security, or exclusivity. Some of the advantages of using business jets for air cargo service transportation are:
Business jets can fly faster, higher, and more direct than commercial flights, avoiding congestion, delays, and stopovers. Business jets can also access more airports, especially smaller and remote ones, than commercial flights, reducing the ground transportation time and cost. Business jets can deliver the air cargo in hours, rather than days, which is crucial for time-sensitive or perishable cargo, such as pharmaceuticals, vaccines, organs, or food.
Business jets can provide more security and privacy for the air cargo than commercial flights, reducing the risk of theft, damage, or tampering. Business jets can expedite customs and security checks, by using private terminals and facilities. Business jets can also track and monitor the air cargo more closely and accurately, using advanced technologies and systems, ensuring the safety and integrity of the air cargo.
Business jets can offer more customized and personalized service for the air cargo than commercial flights, meeting the specific requirements and preferences of the air cargo users. Business jets can also accommodate more types and sizes of air cargo than commercial flights, using specialized containers, equipment, and techniques, ensuring the quality and suitability of the air cargo.
According to the data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), some of the business jets with the highest cargo capacities are:
- Boeing Business Jet (BBJ): The BBJ is a family of business jets based on the Boeing 737 airliner, offering more cabin space, range, and performance than traditional business jets. The BBJ can carry up to 10,660 kg of cargo, with a volume of 157 cubic meters, and fly up to 11,480 km with a speed of 890 km/h.
- Bombardier Global 7500: The Global 7500 is a large and long-range business jet, offering more comfort, performance, and technology than other business jets. The Global 7500 can carry up to 2,585 kg of cargo, with a volume of 18.5 cubic meters, and fly up to 14,260 km with a speed of 956 km/h.
- Gulfstream G650ER: The G650ER is an ultra-long-range and high-speed business jet, offering more range, speed, and cabin space than other business jets. The G650ER can carry up to 1,814 kg of cargo, with a volume of 15.7 cubic meters, and fly up to 13,890 km with a speed of 956 km/h.
According to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), business jets accounted for about 7.5% of the total air cargo traffic in Europe in 2020. The demand for business jet cargo services increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, as business jets were able to adapt and respond to the changing market needs and customer expectations. The EBAA estimates that the business jet cargo market in Europe will grow by 4.6% annually until 2025.
Air cargo is a diverse and dynamic industry, transporting goods by plane that have different requirements and challenges. The air cargo industry is also constantly evolving and innovating, using new technologies and solutions to improve its efficiency, safety, security, and sustainability. Business jets are a niche and valuable segment of the air cargo industry, offering faster, more secure, and more customized service for special cargo that requires speed, security, or exclusivity. Business jets also have different cargo capacities, depending on their size, design, and configuration, as well as the regulations and standards that apply to the air cargo.
Just Aviation can help you with the regulations and standards that apply to your air cargo, such as the packaging, labeling, documentation, and handling requirements. Just Aviation can also offer you competitive and transparent pricing, as well as flexible and customized options, for your air cargo transportation. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your air cargo needs. Just Aviation is your trusted partner for air cargo transportation.