Air freight shipping is the shipment of products by an air carrier. When it comes to shipping express packages around the world, air transport services are the most beneficial. The same gateways are used by commercial and passenger airlines for air freight flights.

The price of air freight, as well as its international and express rates per kg

International importers and exporters use air freight when companies need to move goods quickly and reliably. While 90 percent of all freight is transported by ocean, air freight provides a gateway more quickly, reducing the time required for freight to go from China to the US from 25 to 40 days

Express freight shipments and international air freight

These are two different things.

Express air freight is frequently managed by a single organization (such as DHL, UPS, or FedEx) that oversees the entire shipment lifecycle and can deliver packages from door to door in less than five days. Its shipments are often smaller than air freight (less than one cubic meter and 200 kg).

International air freight cargo can be considerably bigger and travel on many carriers.

International air freight costs can vary from $2.50 to $5.00 per kilogram during a regular season, depending on the item you’re shipping and free space. However, due to major interruptions in sea transport and rising consumer demand, prices have increased significantly since February 2020. The current price range for air cargo is $2–$ 7 per kilogram. 

Costs and rates for air freight shipping

Weight and volume are crucial elements in air freight shipping. Depending on which is more expensive, airlines will either charge by volumetric weight (also known as dimensional weight) or actual weight.

The item’s cubic meter volume should be multiplied by 167 to determine the volumetric weight for air shipping. Let’s assume you have a package with the following dimensions: W 40cm, H 40cm, and L 40cm. As a result, the volume is—064 (the product of all sides divided by one million). You may get a volumetric weight of 10.67 kg by multiplying this by 167.

The volumetric weight becomes the charged weight if it is greater than the actual weight of the goods. You can determine whether your shipment will be charged by actual weight or dimensional weight for light air shipments using this chargeable weight calculator.

Extra Costs & charges for air freight shipment.

In addition to the cost of air cargo, which is determined using the price listed above, your total cost of shipping by air is likely to include:

  • propellant escalations
  • Extra charges for security
  • Container freight handling fees at the station or terminal
  • airport transportation

Included in the pricing for door-to-door services are air cargo services like:

  • Trading in customs
  • Deliveries and pickups
  • Insurance for cargo
  • Complementary fees

What products are typically transported by air freight?

Due to the high cost of air freight, it is typically only used for smaller, more valuable commodities or those that must be delivered quickly, such as:

  • Clothing. Clothing seasonal trends can change quickly. Clothing must, therefore, be moved from factories to stores as rapidly as feasible. Additionally, the small size and high cost of clothing make air freight a worthwhile expenditure.
  • Electronic parts. In order to transport the first iMac before the holiday season, all this is credited with purchasing all of the available air freight capacity along important Asia-US lines.
  • Medicines. Medical supplies are frequently carried by air due to their tiny size and high cost.
  • Seasonal transports. Whatever the product, if there is significant global demand for it and it needs to be supported farther down the chain, it will typically be delivered by air.
  • Records and illustrations. Global Logistics Forwarding got its start by transporting ocean freight paperwork by air to speed up release across a new West Ocean line. When shipping documents, the air is still the most economical option.

The advantages of air freight

Shipping by air has three key advantages:

  • Efficiency – Aircraft are now about 30 times faster than ocean liners. While slowly steaming ocean liners go at 16–18 mph, passenger planes travel at 575 mph. The time it takes for an air freight consignment to travel from a plant in China to a storage in the USA can be as little as five days. Use this travel time calculator to estimate travel times for air freight. It is based on information from actual, recent shipments.
  • Durability – When shipping by air, it is easier to trace your package and more likely that it will arrive at its destination on schedule.
  • Safety – When delivering goods by the ocean rather than the air, there is a higher risk of damage. It’s an excellent choice for delicate objects because of this.

Disadvantages of Air Freight shipping

The following are some disadvantages of air Freight shipping:

  • Price – Air freight carries a heavy price tag compared to ocean freight. A medium-sized cargo weighing 2000 lbs. traveling from Shenzhen, China to Los Angeles, USA, can cost $1,400 by ocean but up to $7,000 or more by air, according to comparisons of air and ocean freight. This disparity could be less because of the high ocean prices right now.
  • Oversized cargo-Large, heavy objects are easily transported in shipping containers, which have been a staple of the freight shipping industry since the early 1970s. Size and weight are used to determine the price of air freight, which can cause prices to rise quickly.
  • CO2 emissions – There are a lot higher emissions from air freight. For instance, according to a study conducted by the UK government, shipping 2 tons over the ocean for 5,000 kilometres results in 150 kg CO2 emissions as opposed to 6,605 kg when done by air. Certainly not the greenest method of shipping.


In conclusion, International Air Freight Shipping services are the fastest and most reliable way of shipping goods internationally.