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Air Freight

Front view of airplane in the sky

Air Freight

Air freight refers to the transportation of cargo via aircraft.

The main role of an air freight forwarder is to smoothen transport operations by ensuring all logistics (e.g. paperwork) are handled properly. This is so that goods can be delivered safely and promptly.

Air freight vs sea freight

Unlike air freight, sea freight involves the transport of goods via a shipping vessel.

Both of these methods have their own advantages and they differ in terms of their transport time, cost and reliability.

Transport time

Air freight has a considerably shorter transport time than sea freight.

For example, shipping from Malaysia to China takes about 1-3 days by air and 4-12 days by sea.


Sea freight is the more economical option and costs about 5-6 times cheaper.


In the event of a delay, delivery via air freight will have an added 1-2 days of waiting time. However, transport via sea freight will have an additional waiting time of between 1-2 weeks.

As such, air freight is the more reliable option of the two.

Need to ship your items cross borders quickly? Contact our customer service team to to learn more and get a free quotation.

Air freight process flow

Transportation of cargo to airport

  • Preparation of the customs document

Once your cargo has been transported to the airport, the customs paperwork will be prepared for all goods onboard. This document is a list containing details about the cargo, crew and passengers on the flight.

It helps to facilitate the airline’s import and export declarations to the relevant customs authorities.

  • Passing of information to the pilot and crew members

Pilot and crew members will be informed if any of the cargo requires special arrangements (e.g. need to be kept at a specific temperature) as well as the potential risks in the event of any emergencies.

Loading of goods onto aircraft

After all the goods have been loaded up the aircraft, and shortly after the plane has taken off, the crew members will adjust the in-house temperatures accordingly to suit the needs of the cargo.

Landing procedures

Before the plane is due to land, crew members will send out a pre-alert so that the cargo handlers are aware that the plane is arriving.

This better prepares them to receive the goods and ensures a smooth and seamless transition.

Delivery of cargo

The cargo will be returned to the freight forwarding company, and delivery of the item to the destination address will commence.

Calculating chargeable weight for air freight

Aircrafts have a limited amount of weight and space they can utilise to carry cargo.

As such, chargeable weight is used to determine how much a piece of cargo should be charged. The higher the chargeable weight, the higher the air freight charges.

Chargeable weight refers to the actual weight (gross weight) or volumetric weight of the good – whichever is greater.

Calculating actual weight

All goods are placed on a weighing scale and their weight is recorded down. This is the cargo’s actual weight (or gross weight).

Calculating volumetric weight

In order to obtain the volumetric weight of a cargo, you must first multiply the length x height x breadth (in cm) of the package. Thereafter, divide the value you obtained by 6000.

Situation 1: Volumetric weight is greater than actual weight

Assuming your shipment consists of 5 boxes with the following characteristics:

  • each box weighs 10kg
  • each box is 50cm x 40cm x 40cm in size

Therefore, the actual gross weight of your shipment is 5 x 10 = 50kg.

Meanwhile, its volumetric weight is [(50 x 40 x 40) x 5] ÷ 6000 = 66.67kg.

In this scenario, the volumetric weight is more than the actual gross weight. Thus, the volumetric weight will be the chargeable weight.

Situation 2: Volumetric weight is lesser than actual weight

If your shipment consists of 2 boxes with the following specifications:

  • each box weighs 15kg
  • each box is 40cm x 30cm x 40cm in size

The actual gross weight of your shipment will be 2 x 15kg = 30kg.

Meanwhile, its volumetric weight will be [(40 x 30 x 40) x 2] ÷ 6000 = 16kg.

In this case, the actual gross weight is more than the volumetric weight. Hence, the actual gross weight will be the chargeable weight.

Looking to ship some goods? Contact our M&P sales team to learn more about our air freight services!

Why choose M&P International Freights?

M&P International Freights is able to offer you the best shipping routes at the most affordable rates as we have a wide range of partners across the globe.

As a leading sea freight forwarder in Malaysia, we strive to provide total customer satisfaction by assigning each customer to a personal M&P consultant. This helps to keep the client updated with the status of the cargo and ensures a smooth shipping experience.

As a leading freight forwarder in Malaysia, we strive to provide total customer satisfaction by assigning each customer to a personal M&P consultant. This helps to keep the client updated with the status of the cargo and ensures a smooth shipping experience.

Additionally, aside from air and sea freight, we also provide supply chain services such as chemical warehousing, bonded warehousing and custom clearance.