Air freight is a safe and efficient way for immediate transportation. Air cargo always has high value-to-weight or have a severe timeline.
At CFC, we want to be your single source for your supply chain solutions. We do this by working in virtually every aspect of the logistics management, including shipping via air.
Here this page will guide you to China air freight, including the advantages, cargo types, a sample airway bill, shipping process, china main airports list and more. Keep reading.
Air Freight Advantages
The best thing with air shipment is speed. In general, the transit time from China is no longer than 10 working days. Only 3~5 days in most cases. This is a vast reduction compared to ocean freight. Nowadays, the fast delivery time alone can make a huge impact on a business niche.
Besides, air shipment is safe and can be tracked online via the airline’s official website.
Please note that air freight is just to-airport delivery. You have to handle the customs clearance and inland transportation to your warehouse, while courier services such as DHL/FedEx/UPS/TNT can be the one stop to-door delivery provider.
Air freight = airport-to-airport
Air courier = door-to-door
That is the biggest difference between them.
Air Cargo Types
By cargo properties, they can be divided into
- General cargo
- Special cargo
1. General cargo
Such as electronics, Jewelry, pharmaceuticals, wristwatches are high value. The electronics industry accounts for around 40% of the value of the entire international air cargo industry.
They need to be transported in a very good condition. The air shipping cost more than sea shipping, but means nothing compared to the value amount of products.
2. Special cargo
Including living animals, goods that are dangerous or need temperature control. For example, some chemicals are dangerous goods, and seafood that requires refrigeration and freezing during the whole-course cold chain transportation.
Perishable or hazardous goods are subject to different regulations, compared to general cargo. They have to pass through various inspections and need to meet numerous requirements, and not every airline can accept these items.
Make sure that you advise in detail about special goods you want to ship. Because leaving out any detail might lead to penalties/extra fees and denial of shipment.
3. One exception.
Sometimes you choose delivery by air no matter what the cargo type is. The manufacturing process delayed, or a market opportunity right now, or you are pushed by your customers, makes you have to choose air shipping.
You can plan ahead to avoid most cases, but there are always circumstances out of control.
4. Prohibited Items
There are additional restrictions on air cargo for items that may endanger the aircraft or passengers’ health or safety, or cause property damage, the main categories being:
- Explosives: fireworks and firecrackers, detonating fuses, etc.;
- Gases: such as compressed gas, dry ice, fire extinguisher, gas cartridge, inflated ball, respirator, explosive automotive airbag, aerosol, gas lighter, gas cylinder, and lamp bulb etc.;
- Flammable liquid: e.g. paint, gasoline, alcohol, engine oil, camphor oil, engine starting fluid, turpentine, thinner, mucilage, perfume, insect sprays, air freshener etc.
- Flammable solid, pyrophoric substances, and substances that emit flammable gases in contact with water: e.g. activated carbon, titanium powder, copra, castor products, rubber debris, safety matches, dry white phosphorus , dry yellow phosphorus, magnesium powder, and solid gum, etc.
- Toxic and infectious items: pesticides, lithium batteries
- Corrosive items: e.g. batteries, alkaline battery electrolyte
- Magnetic substances without degaussing packaging, magnetic steel and other strong magnetic products: e.g. currency detectors, speakers, magnets
- Items dangerous to public health: e.g. corpses & bones (inc. incinerated), untanned hides, animal bones not processed with chemicals
- Oxidizers, organic peroxides, radioactive materials & corrosive items: e.g. chemical medicines, lab chemicals (potassium permanganate, sulphuric acid)
- Powder, liquids, pastes, and other items with danger signs on their packaging
- Biochemical products and infectious materials of all kinds: e.g. bacillus anthracis, dangerous pathogens, medical wastes
Other restrictions will apply due to national laws and regulations of specific airlines.
Please note that most of the airlines are saying NO to the following names or descriptions of the commodity: Lithium Battery Toys, Scooter, Hoverboard, Power Supply, Power Bank, Air Bag, Electric Board, Electronic Board.
Air Waybill (AWB) Sample
If you have read our blog about Bill of Lading, you can understand the AWB above. AWB is almost the same structure as Ocean Bill of Lading (OBL).
An Air Waybill is a documentary proof of the contract of carriage between the shipper and the carrier.
It also serves as:
- a delivery receipt
- a receipt of goods for shipment
- a document required for Customs clearance
- a form of invoice for the carriage of the goods
- an insurance certificate (if the insurance cover was arranged through the airline)
- a dispatch note, bearing a list of all accompanying documents, and any special instructions given by the shipper
Difference between AWB and OBL
The rule of AWB played in an international shipping is almost the same as OBL, but AWB doesn’t serve as a document of title. This is the most significant difference.
The words non-negotiable are printed at the top of the Air Waybill, and must not be changed or removed.
The AWB will be delivered with the air cargo. So as soon as the plane departs from the loading airport, the cargo rights will be transferred to the consignee. The consignee can only show their identification to claim the shipments. The AWB cannot be transferred. That’s why you have to pay freight costs before departure from China.
There’s a column called “Rate Charge” in the middle of an AWB. This rate will be automatically generated by the airlines according to IATA, and can NOT be modified. The charge shown is higher than you really paid.
This is the all-in billable weight rate, calculated by:
- GCR (General Cargo Rate)
- SCR (Specific Commodity Rate)
- CCR (Commodity Classification Rate or Class Rate)
- BUC (Bulk Unitization Charge)
Air cargo tracking
Each AWB has its unique number. You can find this number on the head section. By submitting the number on the tracking page of the airline’s official website, all updated tracking information will be available.
The bill format is 2 airline code + 3 numbers as prefix + several numbers. Example, Air China Cargo, CA as the airline code, 999 as prefix.
Tracking & Tracing from Air China Cargo
Some carriers will provide a free service called email alert. When the goods moved, the updated status will be sent to you shortly. Take advantage of that.
There are also specialized tools online from third parties for flexible tracking. You can google and find them easily.
Top 10 International Airports in China
In international air transport, there are standard short name of each airport created by IATA. The airport short name is formed by three capitalized letters for easy recognition.
PEK – Beijing Capital International Airport
HKG – Hongkong International Airport
CAN – Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CA/QR/TK/EY/MS/NH to Middle East and Africa)
PVG – Shanghai Pudong International Airport
SHA – Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
CTU – Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
SZX – Shenzhen Baoan International Airport (CA/HU/CZ/MU to Europe and North America)
KMG – Kunming Changshui International Airport
XIY – Xian Xianyang International Airport
HGH – Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport
Based on the status of the cargo shipping in 2015, Shanghai PVG is the 1st busiest logistics center with 3.27 million tons, followed by Beijing PEK 2.814 million tons, Guangzhou CAN 1.53 million tons and Shenzhen SZX 1.0131 million tons.
Attention: A city can have more than one airport. Make sure there will be no misunderstanding when you request an air quote.
The -est facts worldwide
King Fahd International Airport in Damman, Saudi Arabia. It takes up some 780 square kilometers – roughly the same size as New York City.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Main Airlines’ Shipping Routes
1. Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand
BR, CA, CZ, FM, GA, KE, MH, SQ, MU, BI, NX, NZ, PR, QF, TG, UO, 5X, ZH, AI, VN, 9W
|MH||KUL||PEN CMB DAC DEL HYD SYD MLE BEY DXB JED JNB|
|SQ||SIN||SYD MEL AKL BNE|
|VN||SGN/HAN||DAD RGN PNH|
2. South Asia, Middle East and Africa
EK, EY, ZP, MU, SU, PR, CA, UW, CX, QR, MH, CZ, SV, TG, TK, BI, SQ, AI, GA, BA, HU, 9W, W5, ZH, ET
|EY||MAA/AUH/DEL/BOM||AMM BAH BEY DMM DOH DXB KWI JED IKA SHJ LCA LOS ACC ADD JNB CAI|
|EK||DXB||AUH SHJ DWC IST IZM ADA ANK DAR EBB KRT NBO CAI BOM DEL CMB MLE DAC ISB|
|SV||RUH||LOS JNB KRT ADD TUN ALG DKR|
CZ, MU, CA, BA, KL(MP), UPS, RU, Y8, GD, EK, SV, CX, EY, KE, OZ, JL, TK, AY, SU, LX, TG, ZP, QR, BI, HU, MH, ZH, 6U
|UPS||CGN||AMS BER BOD BRE BRU CDG DTM DUS FRA FMO HAJ HAM HHN LUX MUC SNN CPH ZRH|
|SU||SVO/HHN||ATH BUD LCA WAW PRG AMS BER BRE BRU BSL CGN DTM DUS FMO FRA HAJ HAM BCN CPH LON MIL NCE ROM VCE VIE|
|CA||CPH/VIE/MXP/FRA||AMS ANR ATH BCN BRE BRU BSL BIO CGN HAM LUX MAD NUE ROM RTM|
MU, F4, BR, QF, Y8, UPS, PO, SQ, CX, KE, OZ, JL, UA, AA, CO, AC, AM, HU, BA, LX, EK, PR, CZ
|AA||ORD/LAX||JFK DFW MIA YYZ YUL ATL CLT PHX BNA CVG CLE DTW IND MCI MKE SDF MSP STL SFO SEA SDQ STI|
|AM||LAX/MEX||GDL GUA SCL MTY SCL SJO LIM BOG EZE|
|CO||EWR||YYZ MEX MTY GDL GIG GRU EZE|
|PO||LAX/CVG||AUS DEN DFW IAH MIA SEA SFO SLC YVR ABE ABQ ALB ATL BOS CLT DFW MCI LAS JFK JAX EWR|
|UPS||ANC||ORD JFK EWR GDL MEX MTY SAP SJO SJU TGU CCS EZE|
China Air Shipping Process with CFC
We suggest you buy FOB, and let your supplier handle the inland trucking to the airport. If the incoterm is EXW, we can also pick up for you.
Quote → Book → Pay, job done from your side. Let us do all the rest heavy job without disturbing you.
- You fill and submit our quote form with your shipping details. (Quote)
- You can expect the response within 12 hours.
- We discuss more, and come to an agreement.
- You or your supplier fill and submit our booking form. (Book)
- We contact your supplier and recheck everything needed, then book the space from the carrier.
- We or your supplier arrange inland delivery to the airport.
- We confirm the chargeable weight.
- You pay the shipping cost as we agreed. (Pay)
- We arrange customs declaration and forwarding the goods.
We’ll keep tracking your shipment and keep you updated till received.
As a valued partner we want to deliver more than just savings, we deliver peace-of-mind.
Any Other Details Need Attention on Air Shipment?
Estimated Transit Time (ETT) is for estimation purposes only and commonly can NOT be guaranteed although most shipments will depart and arrive as scheduled.
The MOQ is 45 kgs. Because in air shipment, the chargeable weight is still 45 kgs if less than that. We’ll find a better solution from DHL, UPS, FEDEX if small shipment.
The rate class is +45kg, +100kg, +300kg, +500kg, +1000kg, while we strongly suggest you choose express door-to-door service if the weight is less than 200kg.
Below is a chart of ULDs (Unit Load Device). You don’t have to pay much attention to the sizes, but one point needs your attention. Try NOT to pack with pallet if you choose transportation by air.
Air cargo rate is calculated by chargeable weight, measurement unit is kilogram. The measurement unit of valuable cargo is 0.1 kg. Chargeable weight is the heavier one between gross weight and dimensional weight.
|Volume Unit||Dimensional Weight|
|By air freight||cm³||Volume/6000|
|By express courier||cm³||Volume/5000|
* If the weight is less than 21 kg, then the minimum chargeable unit is 0.5 kg; If more than 21 kg, then 1 kg.
We have detailed this topic via here.
More background information
- Passenger airplane Maximum height: 64 inches
- Cargo Airplane Maximum height: 96 inches
- To calculate air goods volume L x W x H in inches divided by 366 = weight in kilograms
- To calculate actual weight in pounds to kilograms divide pounds by 2.2046
- Non-wide-body cargo transportation, generally each piece of cargo weight is less than 80 kg, the volume is not more than 40 x 60 x 100 cm.
- Wide-body cargo transportation, generally each piece of cargo weight is not more than 250 kg, the volume is not more than 100 x 100 x 140 cm.
If the cargo exceeds above the weight and volume, the carrier can determine the allowable maximum limit and volume cargo base on the flight model, departure and destination airport handling equipment conditions.
What CFC Can Do for You?
You have goods that quickly needs to be moved. You have the dimensions, the weight, the timeline and you find CFC as your China air freight forwarder.
We understand that the products we are going to forward are urgent, high-value, time-sensitive or perishable.
What we are trying to do is deliver your shipments as early as possible, and make the process smoothly with a competitive air shipment quote. Whether airport to airport, or airport to door, you can rely on us.
- Cargo insurance
- Door to Door service
- Fumigation and inspection
- Direct flight to worldwide
- Single-source quoting
- Competitive air freight rates
- Customs clearance service at origin or destination
CFC covers all major airports in China with cheap prices. Depends on where’s your shipment located, and the available schedules to your destination, we’ll choose the best suitable one for you as your loading airport. We rely on qualified partner carriers that are committed to providing safe, efficient and on-time service to importers across the world.
Low cost, time definite services, and proof of delivery, that’s we are doing and we are good at it. We are always interested in new opportunities and supporting your business.
CFC improves profitability for customers by allowing them to focus on their core competencies while we manage their logistics, providing great air freight solutions.
If you choose delivery by air, we’ll understand that you can’t afford customs issues or any hang-ups, and you certainly don’t have time to deal with them. You can just leave the rest to us, once we come to an agreement about the freight charges and the ETA.
CFC help customers gain more control over their supply chain, become more cost effective and increase transportation management efficiency. Thank you to all our customers for allowing us to be your one-stop logistics provider and helping deliver peace of mind.
Get a free quote now for air freight from China to USA, UK, Australia, Canada and all over the world. We are always ready for your time-critical supply chain management.
— Last updated Dec. 6, 2016