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Flying Heavy Engineering Goods: A Practical Approach

Introduction To Flying Heavy Engineering Goods

Flying heavy engineering goods by air  is not an impossible task. However, the shipper will be at an advantage, if  all necessary preparations have been made in advance, especially those abroad. Local preparations are to be done together with the freight forwarder.

Keep It Simple

Air freight is fast, effective and expensive. Optimising the planning to save time and avoiding confusion should be the core of the whole process. Set priorities, draw up lists, and set up a team. Flying heavy engineering goods will be a smooth process if a few points are kept within view.


Here is an article for you you.

Timing is the key to sending heavy engineering goods by air successfully and without any stress.  Below is an infographic, that will give a small list of some of the most important points. The list is not complete but a help to draw up your own detailed list.

flying heavy engineering goods
Flying Heavy Engineering Goods – Supath Business Services International


Assign an employee to co-ordinate the whole project. It would be ideal to make another member of the staff available as a back up. Communications lines are to be kept open. Keep all the documents in one file and that includes all the details of the contact persons. Flying heavy engineering goods will require  the best of co-ordination and smoothness in operations.

Freight – Points To be Noted Always: General Information

  • If shipment is 10 tonnes or more, do NOT package it without having a consultation with  the airline.
  • For a very large freight as mentioned above, the airline will demand a technical drawing, in order to assess the loading procedure.
  • If wood is used in packaging , please  read the packing article.
  • If a crane is needed, have hooks been provided on the shipment? Protection sleeves for chains or cables? or soft but strong abrasion resistent padding to avoid damage to the machine surface while handling.
  • Pressure chambers in the machine (if any) removed? (pressure chambers may be classified as dangerous goods).
  • Pick up: Is a gantry crane available at the facility? Is an external crane service needed? Any special requirements? (Metal rods or solid shafts)
  • Dimensions : Length x Width x Height with unit of measure. Keep the details accurate.
  • Weight: total gross weight of the goods “ready for carriage”. It is good to make the nett weight of the freight available to the airline.
  • Tie-down points are to be made available to the airline. Tie-down points : slots/rings/hooks to secure the freight to the air freight pallet.
  • Pre-export Check
  • Last but not the least, There should be a possibility for a wooden floor to carry the machine. Metal on metal (air freight pallets are metal) transport is not permitted

Airline staff usually inspect the machine before tabling a quotation. Once the airline contract is in place, a loadmaster will inspect the goods and advise, if anything special needs to be done. It is important that, by this time,  the consignee is ready for the import (documents are in place, broker is informed, equipment ordered etc.). The airline that will fly the heavy engineering goods needs to plan the transport through one or more channels. Airport of despatch and airport of departure and airport of destination.

Airport of despatch means, it is not the airport from where the consignment will fly. The shipment needs to be transported to another point, from where it will finally fly. Heavy engineerings goods need detailed planning: warehouse, positioning in the aircraft and moving it in the right order when the loading process begins

Documents are to be passed on in advance (always better to send them in PDF format). The consignee needs all papers in advance, so that he can pass them on to the broker who will be responsible for the customs clearance. The consignee is usually located in a different time zone and he cannot wait for you to be in office.


Remember: Consignment sitting in a customs warehouse means cost! A large shipment will cause an enormous amount of charges which will need to be paid immediately.

Resources Centre

Anybody needing help or advice to plan air freight, please get in touch using the contact form below. However, consultation with your freight forwarder/air cargo agent cannot be stressed enough. 


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