Air freight being prepared on a runway, illustrating the crucial role of aviation in facilitating global trade

Flying fresh: shipping perishable goods by air

Discover how the aviation industry’s efficient handling techniques and stringent standards and regulations guarantee the safe delivery of perishable goods worldwide

The time-sensitive nature of perishable goods, coupled with consumer demand for fresh produce year-round, has led to a close collaboration between airlines and shippers. Over 80,000 flowers are transported by air every 24 hours, highlighting the trust placed in air cargo for maintaining the freshness of perishable items. The quick and efficient handling techniques developed by the industry ensure that goods are delivered in pristine condition.

From fruits and vegetables to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, a wide range of perishable goods is transported by air. Each item comes with its unique packaging and storage requirements, emphasising the adaptability and precision required in handling air freight.

Regulations and responsibilities

To guarantee the safe delivery of perishable goods, both shippers and carriers adhere to stringent regulations. The Shipper is responsible for declaring details, obtaining permits, and ensuring proper labelling, while the Carrier focuses on meeting regulations, and providing adequate storage and handling. The IATA’s Perishable Cargo Regulations (PCR) serve as a comprehensive guide for all involved parties.

Traceability and tracking play a crucial role in ensuring the integrity of perishable goods. This transparency is especially vital for food shipments, providing a link between origin, processing, distribution, and final delivery.

CEIV Fresh Programme

Recognising the need for standardised procedures in perishable logistics, the aviation industry introduced the CEIV Fresh Programme. This certification ensures organisations meet stringent standards, enhancing staff competency and preventing food loss and waste. Training programmes, such as the IATA Shipping Perishable Cargo course, further contribute to the expertise of professionals involved in the process.

Shipping perishable goods by air is not just a logistical choice; it's a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of quality and efficiency. As the demand for fresh and time-sensitive products continues to rise, the aerospace, security, and defence industries, represented by ASD, play a crucial role in supporting the competitive development of the sector worldwide.