International Air Waybill Of Lading use in air cargo

Air freight bill of lading

The air waybill or air freight bill of lading is the most important document issued by a carrier either directly or through its authorized agent. It is a non-negotiable transport document, that covers transport of cargo from airport to airport. By accepting a shipment, an IATA cargo agent is acting on behalf of the carrier whose air waybill is issued.

Air waybills have eleven digit numbers which can be used to make bookings, check the status of delivery, and current position of the shipment.

Air waybills are issued in 8 sets of different colors. The first three copies are classified as originals. The first original, green in color, is the Issuing Carrier's copy. The second, colored pink, is the Consignee's Copy. The third, colored blue, is the Shipper's copy. A fourth brown copy acts as the Delivery Receipt, or proof of delivery. The other three copies are white.

Air freight bill of lading go together with the air cargo, directly from airport to airport. Shipper cannot get the Original air bill of lading. The air freight bill of lading information is provided by shipper or booking freight forwarder.

Points to Consider regarding the Air Waybill

  • Air waybill, contrary to bill of lading, is not a document of title, as a result it is not a negotiable document. Carriers' agents deliver goods by approving the identity of the consignee without requesting surrender of the original air waybill.
  • Air Waybill is not a negotiable document as a result it cannot be issued "to order and black endorsed" or "to order of an issuing bank". An air waybill can only be consigned to a "named company".
  • Air waybill issued and signed by the carrier or an agent on behalf of the carrier. Alternatively it can be issued and signed by a freight forwarder. But carrier air waybill and forwarder air waybill are not the same documents.
  • Air waybill should be used in airport-to-airport shipments, as a result it cannot be used in conjunction with the incoterms available only sea shipments such as FAS, FOB, CR and CIF.
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