Air Freight Regulations and Compliance: What You Need to Know

Who regulates air freight?

Air freight is regulated by various international organizations and national bodies. One of the main organizations that regulate air freight is the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA is a trade association that represents around 290 airlines worldwide. It plays a crucial role in developing industry standards and best practices for air freight, including safety, security, and operational regulations.

Another important international organization that regulates air freight is the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations and sets international standards and regulations for aviation safety, security, efficiency, and environmental protection.

On the national level, air freight in the United States is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA is responsible for ensuring the safe and efficient operation of civil aviation within the country. It sets regulations and guidelines for all aspects of air transportation, including air freight.

What is compliance in aviation?

Compliance in aviation refers to the adherence to rules, regulations, and standards set by regulatory bodies within the industry.

Compliance in aviation covers a wide range of areas, including safety, security, environmental impact, labor practices, and customer service.

For air freight operations, compliance involves following specific guidelines for packaging, handling, and transporting goods, as well as adhering to customs and trade regulations. It also includes compliance with regulations related to dangerous goods, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air.

What are the restrictions on air freight?

Some common restrictions on air freight include:

1. Dangerous goods: Certain substances and materials are classified as dangerous goods due to their potential to cause harm or pose a risk during transportation. These goods, such as flammable or corrosive materials, may have restrictions on the quantity that can be shipped, packaging requirements, and documentation requirements.

2. Size and weight limitations: Airlines have specific limits on the size and weight of freight that can be transported on their aircraft.

3. Customs regulations: Customs regulations can also impose restrictions on air freight, particularly when it comes to importing or exporting goods.

4. Embargoed countries or regions: There may be restrictions on shipping to certain countries or regions due to political or security concerns.

Which international regulations deal with air freight?

The two primary regulatory frameworks that deal with air freight are the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that sets international standards and regulations for aviation safety, security, efficiency, and environmental protection.

IATA, on the other hand, is an industry trade association representing airlines worldwide. It collaborates with ICAO to develop and implement global standards and best practices for air transportation.

What is CFR in air freight?

CFR stands for Code of Federal Regulations, which is a set of rules and regulations established by various agencies of the United States federal government.

In the context of air freight, CFR refers to the regulations that govern the transportation of goods by air within the United States.

What is the difference between IATA and ICAO?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are two key international organizations that play a crucial role in the regulation and compliance of air freight.

IATA is a trade association that represents and serves the airline industry, whereas ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for aviation matters globally.

IATA primarily focuses on issues related to commercial airlines, such as ticketing, cargo handling, and passenger rights. In contrast, ICAO deals with broader aspects of aviation, including airspace management, air navigation systems, and airport infrastructure.

IATA creates guidelines and standards that are voluntarily adopted by airlines, whereas ICAO develops legally binding standards and recommended practices that member states must adhere to.

Does OSHA oversee airlines?

OSHA primarily focuses on workplace safety and health standards in various industries.

Under OSHA’s jurisdiction, the agency regulates the safety and health conditions of airline employees working in areas such as cargo operations, maintenance facilities, and ground operations. This includes ensuring proper training, hazard communication, respiratory protection, and fall protection measures are in place.

However, it is important to note that OSHA does not regulate the safety of airline passengers.

What is FAA?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a regulatory agency that oversees and regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the United States. It was established in 1958 and is responsible for promoting the safety and efficiency of the aviation industry.

The FAA’s main responsibilities include regulating air traffic, ensuring the safety of aircraft and airports, and developing and enforcing regulations and standards for aviation operations.

They are also responsible for certifying pilots, mechanics, and other aviation professionals, as well as registering and inspecting aircraft.

Who enforces air carrier access act?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing the ACAA.

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) is a crucial piece of legislation that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities when it comes to air travel.

The ACAA prohibits airlines from discriminating against passengers with disabilities and mandates that carriers provide appropriate accommodations and services to ensure equal access.

Why is air transport regulation important?

Air transport regulation is of utmost importance for the safety and security of passengers, as well as for the efficient and effective operation of the aviation industry.


One of the main reasons why air transport regulation is important is because it ensures the highest level of safety standards.

Regulations govern various aspects such as aircraft maintenance, pilot qualifications, and airport security measures, all of which contribute to the overall safety of air travel.


Regulation is also crucial for the fair and efficient operation of the industry.

It establishes guidelines and standards that promote fair competition among airlines, preventing monopolies and ensuring that customers have a wide range of choices.


Regulation helps in the enforcement of contractual obligations between airlines and passengers, protecting the rights and interests of both parties.


Air transport regulation plays a vital role in addressing environmental concerns. It sets emission standards and noise regulations, promoting sustainability and minimizing the impact of air transport on the environment.

The Air cargo tariff and rules (TACT)

TACT is an industry-standard that provides airlines, freight forwarders, and other stakeholders with the necessary information to calculate rates, understand rules, and comply with regulations when shipping goods by air.

TACT includes a comprehensive set of rules and regulations that govern the air cargo industry, ensuring consistency and transparency in pricing and service.

It covers a wide range of topics, including rates, charges, handling procedures, packaging requirements, and documentation standards.


TACT is a more detailed and specific resource for air cargo rates and rules, while IATA provides broader industry standards and regulations.

TACT is often the go-to resource for precise and up-to-date information on air cargo rates and regulations.


TACT focuses specifically on air cargo tariffs and rules, providing detailed information on rates, charges, and regulations for the transportation of goods by air.

IATA is a global trade association that represents the airline industry. While it also provides information on rates and regulations, IATA covers a broader range of topics such as safety, security, and operational efficiency.


TACT is more specific and tailored toward cargo operations, while IATA encompasses a wider range of airline-related activities.


TACT is mainly used by cargo professionals and logistics companies, while IATA caters to airlines, travel agents, and other industry stakeholders.

Air cargo security requirement

Some of the key air cargo security requirements include:

1. Screening: All air cargo must undergo thorough screening processes to identify any prohibited items or potential threats. This can include physical inspections, X-ray scans, or the use of advanced technologies such as explosive detection systems.

2. Chain of custody: Air cargo must have a clear and documented chain of custody, ensuring that it has been handled and transported by authorized personnel and secure facilities throughout the supply chain.

3. Security programs: Airlines, freight forwarders, and other entities involved in air cargo transportation must develop and implement comprehensive security programs.

4. Security training: Personnel involved in handling air cargo must receive proper training on security protocols, recognizing suspicious behavior, and responding to potential threats.