IATA announces e-AWB as default from 1 January 2019

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International Air Transport Association logo

In a surprise statement, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has informed the industry that, effective 1 January 2019, the electronic Air Waybill (e-AWB) will become the “default contract of carriage” for all air cargo shipments on enabled trade lanes.

This is just weeks after Air cargo Week carried an open letter from six industry leaders demanding greater implementation of this very measure.

“This key industry milestone ushers air cargo into a new era where digital processes will be the norm and paper processes will be the exception,” says IATA.

It claims the e-AWB brings numerous benefits such as:

  • Elimination of paper based processes
  • Improved efficiency and reliability of the overall cargo handling process
  • Faster delivery times
  • Decrease handling errors
  • Positive impact on the environment with reduced paper usage

IATA introduced e-AWB in 2010 with the objective to initiate the digitalisation of the air cargo supply chain. Ever since, the e-AWB initiative has been a key enabler to the digitalization and transformation of our industry, as data availability and quality is critical to deliver innovative solutions and enhance customer experience. The growing number of stakeholders using e-AWB demonstrates that the industry is ready and committed to embrace the full digitalization of the air cargo industry.

“IATA encourages all air cargo industry stakeholders to switch to e-AWB at the earliest unless a paper air waybill may still be required due to applicable international treaties, national law, or as bilaterally agreed between the parties,” the association says.

All necessary information for implementing e-AWB in the IATA e-AWB Implementation Playbook.