e-Airway Bill

IATA Standards

Paperless air-freight booking

Air Supply Chain

IATA standards on electronic capturing of air shipment details and sharing them across the supply chain.


IATA Resources

eAWB Factsheet


IATA Resources

eAWB Specifications


IATA Resources

eAWB Messaging


IATA Resources

eAWB Interlining


Paperless air-freight booking

Air Supply Chain

IATA standards on electronic capturing of air shipment details and sharing them across the supply chain.


In today’s electronic world, air cargo still relies heavily on paper documentation for the exchange of information. Each international airfreight shipment can require more than 30 different paper documents–increasing the cost of airfreight and lengthening transport times.

The Solution

2.            The e-freight project aims to take paper out of air cargo and replace it with the exchange of electronic data and messages. Initiated by IATA, the project became an industry- wide initiative involving carriers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, shippers, customs brokers and customs authorities.

3.            The AWB (AirWaybill) is the most important transportation document in Air Cargo. The e-AWB (electronic AirWaybill), is the first step to realize the e-freight vision. The e-AWB project replaces the paper AWB with an electronic contract of carriage between the Freight Forwarder and the Carrier.

The Benefits

4.            The benefits associated to the e-AWB are shared between all stakeholders including regulators. The most important benefits are the following:

(a)          Reduced costs: Elimination of purchase costs for pre- printed paper AWB, reduced AWB printing and archiving costs

(b)          Higher productivity: Elimination of repeating data keying, real time access to AWB information, reduction in cargo handling delays due to missing or illegible paper AWB, detection of errors prior to submitting the physical freight, no waiting time for processing paper AWB at airline desk

(c)           Better reliability: No risk of losing documents and reduced number of errors

(d)          Regulatory compliance: Authorized by international treaties regulating air cargo transport; contribution to the advanced reporting requirements

(e)          Paving the way towards e-freight: A first step toward a paper free air cargo, involving less stakeholders

IATA’s Approach

5.            Since 2008 e-AWB has been developed by the industry and IATA:

(a)          Industry best practices have been documented together with industry experts.

(b)          IATA Multilateral e-AWB Agreement has been developed. Through a unique agreement with IATA, an airline or freight forwarder is provided with an adequate legal framework for doing e-AWB with a large community of business partners.

(c)           New messages (Cargo-XML) have been defined and existing messages (Cargo-IMP) have been enhanced to support e-AWB.

6.            The project is endorsed by FIATA (International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association) who encourages its members to adopt it.

7.            IATA is working with the industry to engage local authorities to support e-AWB.

8.            The majority of airlines start implementing e-AWB in their home market and then roll it out globally. Some airlines have already achieved 100% e-AWB penetration from their main hubs.

9.            The IATA e-AWB web page provides resources to support e-AWB stakeholders throughout their implementation project:

(a)          On line training for e-AWB

(b)          List of parties to the IATA Multilateral e-AWB Agreement

(c)           Global workshops to raise e-AWB awareness

(d)          Countries accepting e-AWB

(e)          List of airlines and freight forwarders that are e-AWB capable per airport (Matchmaker)

(f)           e-AWB penetration report

The Targets

(g)          By the end of 2012, the global penetration of e-AWB on feasible trade lanes was around 6%. The airline industry targets at 20% e-AWB penetration on feasible trade lanes by the end of 2013.

(h)          The vision is to achieve 100% e-AWB on feasible trade lanes by the end of 2015.

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