Air Cargo Charters: 5 Things to Know Before Booking

Stuart Wheeler

December 6, 2023


Air Cargo Charters: 5 Things to Know Before Booking

If you’re not an expert in air cargo charters, booking one can be a complex and demanding process. 

In this blog, we examine some of the questions you may be asked before you can start booking air cargo charters

Knowing this information beforehand will help you book a quick and efficient flight that will deliver your goods.

1. Do you really need an air cargo charter?

It may seem an obvious question to be asked; that is — whether you really need an air cargo charter. However, it’s one that needs an honest answer. 

If your shipment is not time-sensitive, using a scheduled carrier will save you money. However, you’ll be at the mercy of inflexible schedules and fixed routes. 

Spending money on an air cargo charter is a way of buying time as it will allow you to transport your goods exactly when you need them, on a route set by you. This can be expensive, however, so the cost (of not shipping on time or to a place of your choosing) must be weighed up.

2. What’s the budget?

Another obvious question you’ll be asked is: What’s the budget? It’s useful in checking the feasibility of an air cargo charter. 

Not all carriers charge the same for their services. Depending on where an aircraft is coming from and going to (after collecting and delivering your cargo) dictates the cost. 

Providing a budget at the outset will quickly validate your requirement and see you guided to the most economical air cargo charter solution.

3. Do you have air cargo charter experience?

While not necessary, it does help to possess some sort of air cargo charter experience. If not, you may think you know the right aircraft for your cargo, but is it the right type for the route? 

Permissions have to be sought from countries the aircraft is operating from, to, or over. This can be a lengthy process, especially if dangerous goods or diplomatic shipments are involved. 

Knowing what to expect when you’re least expecting it is all part of the air cargo charter process. This is where Air Charter International’s expertise really counts. 

We navigate the pitfalls, so you don’t have to.

4. Do you know the cargo specifications?

If you have a clear idea of the cargo and its dimensions, you can be sure of an accurate quote for an air cargo charter. Not knowing what the cargo looks like, on the other hand, may mean the wrong aircraft is selected, increasing the cost. 

By providing a full packing list (accompanied by photos), an accurate load plan can be issued. This will give you peace of mind knowing your cargo will fit the best aircraft for the job. It can also help prevent any last-minute hitches during the loading and unloading processes.

5. Is it sensitive, perishable, or outsize?

Check if the item you need shipped is sensitive, perishable or outsize.

Some commodities are prime candidates for air cargo charters. Whether it’s a semiconductor, generator turbine or a payload of pineapples, speed and security are crucial.

Most conventional aircraft are unable to carry oversized cargo. Special measures are needed, which usually means employing one of the larger, more unusual freighter aircraft, like the Antonov AN-124 or Airbus Beluga. 

If your shipment falls into one of the categories above, an air cargo charter is especially useful.

Rely on Our Expertise

It is our task to ask some or all of these questions at the start of any air cargo charter project. Getting to know a client’s background and knowledge helps us to determine the best course of action; it’s something we’ve been adept at for 30 years. 

Reputation and experience are key characteristics to look for when selecting an air cargo charter provider. While the cost of a service will always be paramount, reliability and responsiveness should also be strong considerations. 

Air Charter International more than satisfies that criteria. 

After 30 years in the air charter business, we have the network, the knowledge and the knack to provide fast, efficient and tailored solutions for any air cargo charter requirement. 

With global supply chains facing frequent disruption, the need for air cargo charters is ever-increasing. With our expertise and your knowledge, you can be sure that Air Charter International will be your trusted partner of choice.

Get in touch with our team today. 



Paul Bingley is Air Charter International’s Head of Charter Sales. He has worked in the aviation industry for over 30 years, two-thirds of which have been spent in cargo charters. Paul is based in Dubai.

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Author bio:

Stuart Wheeler is the CEO of Air Charter International (ACI). Established in 1994 and based in Dubai, ACI is an aviation services provider with a dedicated team of aviation specialists focused on delivering professional aircraft lease and charter services to the following regions – Africa, Arabia, Asia, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas.