The Air Waybill (AWB),or air waybill, is the document that must accompany the contract of international air transport in any commercial transaction. It is an official notification that serves to justify the products or goods on board a cargo aircraft.
This is the most important notification of an export or import by air and the airline will deliver the goods at destination to the natural or legal person listed as the final consignee on the Air Waybill.
It’s very important that the Air Waybill collects the following information:
- Contracted parties (shipper, consignee and carrier).
- Goods transported (volume, weight and nature).
- Itinerary, model and number aircraft.
- Transport costs (airfreight).
However, it’s important to note that it isn’t a document that grants any right over the goods, but it does allow the goods to be claimed, in a simple way, by means of an identification. The Air Waybill must bear the signature of the agent or carrier along with the date of issue. It is very similar to its equivalent in maritime transport: Bill of Lading or B/L, although it does not represent the ownership of the goods, therefore, it cannot be transferred nor can a change of ownership be negotiated.
Efficiency of air transport
Due to its immediate, efficiency and speed, air transport is the most widely used means of transport for perishable goods, e-commerce products or high-value industries. Hundreds of such documents are issued every day. At RFL Cargo, as specialists in offering customised logistics solutions, we also work with this type of notifications in our international air transport services.
In terms of statistics, approximately 787.9 million kilograms of air cargo were moved in 2020, a decrease of about 280.5 million kilograms compared to the air cargo recorded only one year earlier. This significant decrease is explained by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic lockdown effects.
The electronic mode, e-Waybill
The e-AWB is the electronic document that has already started to replace the paper Air WayBill. It also regulates the contractual relations between airlines, freight forwarders, freight forwarders, shippers and freight forwarders.
IATA –International Air Transport Association– is the entity that promotes its use in freight transport operations and, in this way, digitises logistics chains by air.