Our company

Airfreight.org.uk is a website run by Movecorp Ltd one of the UK’s leading providers of removal and shipping services to both corporate and private clients, our specialist team of helpful transport co-ordinators are on hand to guide you through the process of sending shipments by air.

We offer a tailor-made airfreight solutions for business who need to ship goods from one country to another. If you need to ship one small item or several large items, airfreight can do this for you.


Our most popular services are:

:: Box & Parcels
:: Pallets & Crates
:: Commercial Cargo
:: Documents & Paperwork
:: Personal and Household Effects


We offer a full professional export wrapping and packing service for customers looking at using airfreight to shipping goods abroad. Our trained staff uses the best in shipping materials to ensure that your goods are fully protected for our airfreight service.


Airfreight – a historical and modern perspective

Today we take airfreight for granted. A service we use for shipping mail, parcels, boxes, pallets, and vehicles globally, and that can even provide next day delivery worldwide services; airfreight is just a part of everyday life; most of the time we hardly notice it. Often the intensity of modern airfreight becomes apparent only at night when the final passengers have departed. At East Midlands Airport 1, the second most important airfreight hub in the UK, the bulk of the airfreight arrives and leaves at night, transported by dedicated cargo planes packed with personal and industrial items including fresh produce from all over the world.  Globally, regarding value, almost a third of world trade is handled by the airfreight industry. Here we look at a historical and modern of airfreight including currently available services.

Early days of airfreight

The history of airfreight is said to have begun in 1910 with a shipment of silk flown from Dayton to Columbus in the US which arrived faster than it would have done by rail. Airfreight expanded rapidly during the early twentieth century. In 1927 around 21 kilograms of freight were shipped by air. Just two years later has risen to 100  kilograms, and by 1931 it achieved almost 1.5 million kilograms.

Before the outbreak of the second world war, nearly 70% of global airfreight consisted of letters and parcels. This was transported exclusively on passenger planes as no dedicated civilian cargo freight carriers were built until after the end of the war, though during the war and in its immediate aftermath troop carriers played a significant role in transporting troops and military equipment.

The development of the turboprop was a game changer, proving to be the ideal match for the new class of dedicated air freighters that emerged after the war. The airfreight industry blossomed. Mail was no longer the main cargo; by the 1950s parcels accounted for just 20% of global air cargo.

Airfreight today

Today airfreight is carried by a mix of purpose-built cargo planes, modified passenger planes, and in the belly hold of scheduled passenger flights. The proportions vary from airport to airport. For instance, at Heathrow, nearly all airfreight is belly hold while at Gatwick and Stanstead it is all transported by freighter. In total, over 65% of UK airfreight is belly hold.

In recent times the volume of airfreight has been growing on an almost year by year basis 2. In 2004 its volume amounted to 40.9 million metric tons, which by 2018 had increased to 63.6 million metric tons. The only blip in this growth coincided with the 2008 global recession when the volume of airfreight fell around 10% to 42.3 million metric tons, recovering to 50.5 million metric tons the following year.  Air freight accounts for just 5% of total cargo shipments in volume. However, it accounts for around 40% regarding value.

While the growth in airfreight volumes is a global phenomenon, there is considerable variation. We are seeing the highest growth rate in Africa where last year air freight grew by 17.5% while in the Middle East it grew at its lowest rate of 6.6%

As air freight volumes continue to grow, so too is the demand for cargo freighters as globally carriers seek to expand their fleets 3. During 2017 Africa increased its total capacity by 24% while in the Middle East it grew by a more modest 1.2%. It is estimated that by 2026 the global freighter fleet will have almost doubled its current capacity.

What do we transport by airfreight?

We transport all manner goods by airfreight; some examples are:

  • Consumer goods – electronics, fast fashion and pharmaceuticals
  • Heavyweight and large equipment – particularly for the mining, transportation and power plant sectors
  • Air linked assembly lines for transporting components from manufacturing to assembly plants
  • Animals including livestock, wildlife for parks and zoos, pets and racehorses
  • Perishable goods using temperature-controlled containers or flying refrigerators for freighting food and pharmaceuticals
  • Non-perishable foods and drinks such as wine
  • Humanitarian aid and military
  • Parcels, boxes, and pallets

Many items cannot be airfreighted; comprehensive information on these is published by IATA 4.

Airfreight services and costs

There are two main airfreight service classes available:

  • Air charter services are used for transporting heavy, large items that can’t be loaded on scheduled services. These might include industrial equipment, oil field tools, engines, vehicles, film sets, sets of racing cars and associated equipment. Costs for transporting these items are negotiated with the transporter or their agents.
  • A range of airfreight services that use scheduled cargo planes and belly-hold passenger planes typically used to transport parcels, boxes, and pallets are readily available. Although more expensive than road and sea transport, they are usually used for high-value items and where the speed of delivery is essential. Various options are available, for instance:
    • Air freight forwarding services will collect and deliver your shipment from door to door
    • Consolidated air shipments combine shipments from multiple shippers into a single master airway bill. The advantage of this is reduced cost, but the disadvantage is the additional time it takes. Often consolidated airfreight shipments are carried out at weekends only.

Costs of airfreight depend on volumetric weight, also known as dimensional weight 5 or the actual weight of the shipment, whichever is the higher value. Volumetric weight is calculated using the package dimensions of length, width and height to determine actual volume and converting this to a dimensional weight using a factor specified by the carrier. Carriers typically divide the physical package volume in cubic centimeters by a specified factor to provide the dimensional weight in kilograms. Note that the specified factor may depend on the journey and can vary between carriers.

If the actual weight of the shipment exceeds the volumetric weight, then the load is charged for the actual weight.


Regarding value, around 40% of goods are transported by air. Airfreight is available for any individual and business to almost any global destination and, while more expensive than the alternatives, competition in the industry ensures prices are affordable, even for next day delivery worldwide.