The Pros and Cons of Air Charter Service

Air cargo being loaded on a plane

On a personal level we’ve all thought about chartering an entire plane to some far off, exotic locale at some point or another. Not having to deal with long lines, cramped leg room, and strangers in the next aisle over sounds like paradise, especially for people who fly often. For many of us, this will only ever be wishful thinking because many times the negative aspects of flying via private plane outweigh the positives. However, that may not be the case when shipping your cargo.


The Positive Side of Air Charter Service

In the right circumstances, air charter service can be a fast, flexible option that connects your supply chain to the capacity you need. When it comes to quickly getting what you want, when you want it, there is no service better than air charter for your cargo. The truth is, when you pay to use the entire plane, you get to make a lot of decisions like location and scheduling—allowing for timely, flexible deliveries.

You can also find capacity in tough situations with a charter. This is especially true when the transportation industry faces disruptions, whether they be natural catastrophes, strikes, or shortages. Let’s say a tornado wipes out a major intermodal hub. If companies can’t deliver their product via rail, they’ll turn to trucks. Soon the truck capacity will be tight and people will settle for less than truckload (LTL) space or air service. If the disruption persists, even those modes may become too backlogged to handle the shipments coming in. That’s when an air charter can help get your products to their final destinations on time.

The Drawbacks to Air Charter Service

The most apparent downside of air charter is typically the cost. While this challenge cannot be ignored entirely, there is a way to help mitigate the relatively enormous price tag. Although not well known, it is possible to procure a partial air charter. Similar to an air consolidation option, you can pay for some space on a chartered plane rather than the entire thing. This is a good option for situations when you do not have enough freight to fill a plane but still need capacity.

Another challenge is that securing an air charter can be extremely difficult without the right relationships. Companies who do not work with large forwarders can be at a disadvantage if looking for an air cargo charter because many airline companies don’t often work with smaller, niche forwarders for charter service. One of the reasons for this is due to the fact that they require payment in advance for charter service. The solution to this is to work with a company that has the scale, capital, relationships, and knowledge to work with airlines, move planes, and resell space (especially for partial charter service) so you can deliver your products as planned.

What’s Right for Your Company?

For 99% of the businesses out there, air charter service is not a permanent solution, but for some it may be a great resource to use when creating a nimble, adaptable supply chain. If it sounds like the pros of air charter services may outweigh the cons for your organization’s needs (in at least some situations), start developing a process today to use air charter service in the future. And remember, when all else fails, you can take to the air, on your terms.

For a better understanding of air cargo, read the new white paper, Optimizing Your Supply Chain with Air Cargo, which takes a deeper look at the many facets and benefits of air cargo.


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