Air freight plays a crucial role in global trade, offering speed, reliability, and efficiency in transporting goods across continents. Understanding how air freight works can provide valuable insights into the logistics behind this dynamic industry. This blog post provides a comprehensive overview of how does air freight works, highlighting its key processes and the role of logistics partners like Galaxy Freight in ensuring successful air cargo operations.

Understanding How Does Air Freight Work?


Air freight plays a vital role in ensuring the timely and efficient movement of goods across the globe. Let’s look into how does air freight works and why it’s a preferred choice for many businesses.

 1. Booking and Shipment Preparation

The journey of air freight begins with the booking process. Exporters or shippers contact air freight carriers or freight forwarders to reserve space for their goods on a specific flight. During this stage, the shipper prepares the shipment by ensuring proper packaging, labeling, and documentation compliance.

 2. Cargo Acceptance and Handling

Once the goods are ready for shipment, they are delivered to the airport’s cargo terminal or warehouse. At this stage, cargo handlers inspect the shipment for compliance with safety and security regulations. The cargo is then accepted and prepared for loading onto the aircraft.

3. Loading and Transport

At the airport, the cargo is loaded onto the aircraft. This process is carefully orchestrated to optimize space utilization and ensure the safety of the goods during transit. Air freight offers swift transportation, with goods usually reaching their destination within hours or days, depending on the distance.

 4. Transit and Customs Clearance

During transit, air freight shipments cross international borders. At the destination airport, customs authorities inspect the cargo to verify its contents, value, and compliance with import regulations. Proper documentation, including customs declarations and invoices, is essential for smooth customs clearance.

 5. Delivery and Distribution

Upon clearance, the cargo is released to the consignee or recipient. From the airport, the goods are transported to their final destination, whether it’s a distribution center, retail store, or directly to the customer. Local carriers or delivery services manage the last-mile delivery to ensure timely receipt by the intended recipient.

What is air freight operation?

Air freight operations refer to the entire process of transporting goods via air carriers from one location to another. This includes all the activities involved in planning, executing, and managing the shipment of cargo by air. The key components of air freight operations include:

1. Booking and Scheduling:

The process starts with booking the air cargo shipment with an airline. Scheduling involves coordinating the departure and arrival times based on the shipment’s urgency and destination.

2. Cargo Handling:

Cargo handling involves loading and unloading goods onto/from aircraft, ensuring proper packaging, labeling, and documentation.

3. Security Screening:

All air freight shipments undergo security screening procedures to comply with safety regulations and mitigate potential risks.

4. Customs Clearance:

Air freight operations involve customs clearance processes, including submitting necessary documents, paying duties, and obtaining clearance to enter or exit a country.

5. Transportation:

Once cleared, the cargo is transported via aircraft to the designated destination airport. Airlines work with ground handlers to facilitate smooth transitions between flights and transportation to/from the airport.

6. Tracking and Monitoring:

Throughout the air freight journey, shipment tracking and monitoring systems provide real-time visibility to stakeholders, enabling them to monitor the status and location of cargo.

7. Delivery and Distribution:

Upon arrival at the destination airport, the cargo is unloaded, cleared through customs (if applicable), and delivered to the final destination. Distribution may involve ground transportation to warehouses, distribution centers, or directly to customers.

8. Documentation and Record-Keeping:

Air freight operations involve comprehensive documentation and record-keeping to track shipments, comply with regulatory requirements, and facilitate efficient logistics management.

Effective air freight operations require coordination among various stakeholders, including shippers, airlines, freight forwarders, customs authorities, and ground handling agents. The goal is to ensure the safe, timely, and efficient transportation of goods via air to meet customer demand and supply chain requirements.

How are Air freight charges?

Air freight charges are typically calculated based on several factors that influence the cost of shipping goods by air. Here are the key considerations that impact air freight charges:

1. Weight or Volume Weight (Volumetric Weight):

Air freight charges are often based on either the actual weight of the shipment or the volumetric weight, whichever is higher. Volumetric weight is calculated based on the size or volume of the package, considering the length, width, and height.

2. Distance and Destination:

The distance between the origin and destination airports significantly influences air freight charges. Longer distances generally incur higher costs due to increased fuel consumption and operational expenses.

3. Type of Goods:

The nature and characteristics of the goods being shipped can affect air freight charges. Certain goods may require special handling, packaging, or temperature-controlled environments, which can impact the cost.

4. Urgency and Service Level:

The urgency of delivery and the chosen service level (e.g., standard, expedited) also affect air freight charges. Expedited services typically cost more due to the premium for faster delivery.

5. Fuel Prices and Market Conditions:

Fluctuations in fuel prices and market conditions can influence overall transportation costs, including air freight charges.

6. Additional Services:

Optional services such as insurance, customs clearance, special handling, and warehousing can add to the total air freight charges.

7. Carrier and Route:

The choice of airline carrier and specific route can impact air freight charges. Some carriers may offer competitive rates for certain routes or destinations.

Businesses need to work closely with freight forwarders or air carriers to obtain accurate quotes based on the specific requirements of their shipments. Factors such as shipment size, weight, destination, and timeline should be considered when calculating air freight charges. Additionally, leveraging efficient packaging practices and optimizing shipment dimensions can help minimize costs associated with air freight.


In conclusion, air freight offers a rapid and efficient solution for businesses seeking expedited transportation of goods. Its ability to overcome geographical barriers and deliver goods swiftly makes it an indispensable component of modern supply chains.

At Galaxy Freight, we specialize in air freight solutions that optimize efficiency and reliability. Our experienced team manages every aspect of the air freight process, from booking to delivery, ensuring seamless operations and customer satisfaction. Contact us today to discover how Galaxy Freight can enhance your air cargo logistics and propel your business forward.