What is an AIRWAY BILL (AWB)?

The airway bill is a vital document to have if you’re shipping commodities by air. But this one-page, legally binding document does more than just satisfy the authorities at airports of origin and arrival who process the customs clearance process. There are many purposes for an airway bill.

Let us first discuss what is an Airway Bill-

An airway bill is the agreement between a shipper and a carrier. A tracking number provides information about the nature of the goods being shipped and enables the shipment to be tracked, among other things. Among the common terms you may hear or see referred to in airways.

Bills associated with shipping agents and freight forwarders are:
Airway bill
Air consignment note
Dispatch note
The airway bill, or AWB, is the same document as all of these alternative names, which will be called an airway bill for the remainder of this article.

Few Other Details about Airway Bill:

There are several key pieces of information that must be provided on an airway bill, which are given below :

Shipper’s name and address
Consignee’s name and address.
3-letter IATA code for the airport of origin
3-letter IATA code for the airport of arrival
Description of the goods to be shipped
The value of the shipment
The number of items in the shipment
Gross weight of the shipment
Any special instructions. For example, are the goods perishable?

Furthermore, the AWB identifies the terms, conditions, and liability limitations of the carrier. If a shipper’s freight is lost or damaged during transit, it describes the procedures they must follow to file a claim.

Documents such as airway bills are legal. Commercial law entails the terms they contain, and they must accompany goods shipped by air.

Tracking the location of a shipment can be done using the unique 11-digit number that is assigned to each airway bill. The meaning of those numbers is as follows:

Starting three digits represent the airline that transported the cargo. The following seven digits is the serial number o f the airway bill. Then we are left with the last digit and to obtain that divide the serial number by seven and use the remainder. It’s known as the check digit.

What Does Non-Negotiable Airway Bill Means?

On every airway bill, “Non-negotiable” is printed. AWBs are contracts for transportation of goods and do not involve the money value of the goods being transported. Additionally, the AWB does not mention the specific flight schedule at the time your cargo will reach its destination, or the time your cargo will arrive at your chosen destination airport.

Importance of Airway Bill for Air Freight:

Below given point let’s you know the importance of airway bill:

  • It includes the contact information for all parties involved in the shipment.
  • Act as a Transport agreement between the shipper and airline.
  • Describes the character, weight, dimensions, and nature of the goods.
  • Tracking the progress of goods can be done by shippers and consignees using it.
  • This document provides evidence that the goods were received in good condition.
  • As long as it’s accompanied by other documents, it can function as a freight bill or an invoice.
  • Airway bills provide evidence of the goods which a carrier intends to insure if these goods are to be shipped.

Issuer of Airway Bill and Type of It:

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) develops and issues AWB, which are designed to meet and support the industry’s highest standards of security, safety and efficiency.

Type of Airway Bill:
Airline Specific: This bill includes information specific to specific carriers, such as their name, headquarters address, logo, and airway bill number.

These are the same as above except that the data is not pre populated.

Electronic Airway Bills (e-AWB)

Prior to the Electronic Airway Bill Resolution, paper copies of airway bills were mandatory. As a result, airway bills moved online, providing extra ease and speed to the shipping process. This electronic bill is called e-AWB or electronic airway bill, and IATA announced that the e-AWB format will be the default from January 1, 2019, as evidenced by their announcement.

Filling of Airway Bill

Shipping agents and freight forwarders are responsible for completing airway bills. It will still be necessary for you to provide the freight forwarder with a Shipper’s Letter of Instruction which authorizes them to sign your AWB for you.
With all customs documentation, accuracy is crucial, so a forwarder will ensure your AWB is filled out correctly. Improper information on the form may render you, as the shipper, liable for any damage endured by airlines or individuals.
Your carrier will fill out the AWB on your behalf if you don’t use the services of an agent. All you need to do is sign the completed document. Please find below a summary of the details your airline or forwarder needs to complete your airway bill:
Shipper’s Details:
Company Name
Telephone Number
Full Address of Business Head Office
VAT or Tax ID
Recipient’s Details:
Their name
Their telephone number
Their address (and delivery address if different)
Their TAX ID code
Shipment Details:
Description of the nature of the goods
Number of packages
Type of goods being shipped
Value of the cargo
Weight and dimensions of the freight
Billing Details:
The account number of the shipper must be included if the shipper pays the carrier’s freight charges
The receiver of the goods needs to give their account number if they are paying

Airway Bills - An Air-Freight Essential

A bill of lading is a crucial air-freight document that has multiple uses for shippers, carriers, and recipients alike. Before you authorize the freight forwarder to sign on your behalf or sign yourself, make sure the information is correct, whether it comes from the forwarder or the carrier.

Cargo shipping companies

To Know More

  • Import/Export, cargo mode: Air, sea, and by land.
  • Routine shipment, home consumption (duties paid)
  • Ex-Bond/In-Bond shipment
  • Shipments of DEPB, EPCG, and DFCEC licenses
  • 100% EOU / STPI / SEZ / TP for ship spares / R&D certification / passbook scheme
  • Import clearance for a project
  • Direct deliver perishables and certain cargo
  • Re-import after repairs / exhibition
  • Clearance of third-country exports
  • ATA carnet clearance
  • Second-hand capital goods
  • Free-of-charges shipments
  • Courier clearance
  • Door to door delivery

There are certain certificates that you must obtain from the concerned departments regarding the following items:

  • Registration From Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) (For Food/Edible Import Consignments)
  • Animal Quarantine Certificate (A&Q) Required import in india (For animal, animal parts, animal feed, etc. )
  • Plant and Protection Quarantine Certificate/ import permit plus Fumigation treatment Certificate are required for the import of plant material (For seeds, plant and plant thereof)
  • Drug & Cosmetics Act, 1940, No-objection Certificate (NOC) from Assistant Drug Controller(ADC) (is mandatory for the import of drugs/bulk drugs, etc.)
  • BIS, Bureau of Indian Standards BIS is responsible for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto
  • EPR, Extended Producer’s Responsibility With EPR India authorization, the manufacturer / importer of electronic and electrical products has been given the responsibility to control E-waste by the products after expiry of their lifetime.
  • WPC, Wireless Planning & Coordination Imports of radio equipment into India, without prior permission from WPC, will be confiscated by Customs at point of entry.
  • LMPC, Legal Metrology & Packaged Commodity Registration  For import of any pre-packed commodities commodity to distribute or sell Then he need to apply for packer / manufacturer registration

Legal, Standard and Specific Documents Required

  1. Commercial Invoice
  2. Packing list
  3. KYC Documents Required by The CHA for Custom Clearance.
  4. GST (LUT)/ IGST declaration
  5. Export License (If required)
  6. AD Code on (Bank Letter Head)
  7. MSME Certificate (If required)
  8. RCMC/EPC Certificate (If required)
  9. AA (DEEC)/ DFIA/ EPCG/ EOU License For Export Benefits (incentive) (As an option the Exporter may Choose)
  10. Any other Documents required to in this Consignment.

Certificates From The Concerned Departments

In relation to the following items you will need to obtain certain certificates from the concern department, which we have provided you  below :

  1. Registration From Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) (For Food/Edible Import Consignments) (if required)
  2. Plant and Protection Quarantine Certificate/ import permit plus Fumigation treatment Certificate are required for the import of plant material (For seeds, plant and plant thereof) (if required)
  3. Animal Quarantine Certificate (A&Q) Required import in india (For animal, animal parts, animal feed, etc. ) (if required)
  4. CDRUG – ADC Assistant Drug Controller(ADC) (is mandatory for the import of drugs/bulk drugs, etc.) (if required)
  5. SCOMET – Special Chemical organism, material Equipment, Technology.
  6. PSI – Pre Shipments Inspection. (if required)
  7. Certificate of origin.
  8. APEDA – Agriculture and processed food products Export development authority.
  9. FUMIGATION (if required)
  10. WILD LIFE (if required)
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