Air freight is a mode of shipping using airplanes to transport cargo from one location to another. You can ship just about anything via air freight. Mails were the very first cargo that were shipped using aircraft but at present, you can ship anything including packages, live animals, cars, and even airplanes that are small enough to get into massive cargo aircraft.
Air freight can be categorized into the vessels that transport them such as freight that rides on passenger airlines, freight that rides on dedicated cargo planes, huge payloads that ride in super cargo planes.
Passenger Airline Freight
A passenger airline does not only carry passengers and their baggage. Shipping companies and even the United State Postal Service use passenger airlines to transport their packages. The USPS alone leases space on 15,000 of the approximately 25,000 scheduled passenger flights each day. Commercial airlines make about 5 to 10 percent of their revenue from hauling freight.
Commercial airlines have storage areas under the passenger compartment that are specifically allotted for air freight. These storage space can hold as much as 5,330 cubic feet (150 m3) of cargo – that’s about as much cargo as can fit in two semi-truck trailers.
Major shipping companies like FedEx and UPS have their own fleet cargo planes in different sizes. The Boeing 747-400 freighter, one of the largest planes around, can hold about 26,000 cubic feet (736 m3) of cargo. That’s about five truckloads of cargo!
The Boeing 747-400 is configured such that it can hold 30 pallets of goods on the main level. There is also an area for holding horses, called airstables that connect to pallets and fit in the cargo hold. On the lower level, five more pallets can be accommodated. All of these goods are loaded through hatches in the side of the plane. The nose of the plane also opens up for loading large or irregularly shaped cargo. Electric rollers on the floor are used to haul the goods in and out of the plane, eliminating the need for forklift trucks.
Super Cargo Planes
Also known as Super Transporters, these flying behemoths are aircraft designed specifically for moving large loads such as choppers, yachts and even airplanes.
These super planes are built with huge cargo areas located above the cockpit, allowing freight to fill almost the full length of the plane. The giant door on the front of the cargo hold opens wide enough to get completely out of the way.
Super cargo planes can hold about 47 tons of cargo. So as long as it can fit into these massive plane’s door and floor and does not weigh more than 47 tons, you can ship it through a Super Transporter.