Pallets for Air Freight
20 Feb 2020
When you are dealing with air freight, there are specific pallets and containers that you must use.
The aircraft have precise requirements for the types of loads that they can accommodate, and each individual pallet has been designed to fit into the various types of aircraft.
This ensures that cargo can be loaded and unloaded with minimal delays.
Benefits of Air Freight
A pallet or container that is to be loaded on to an aircraft is referred to as a unit load device (ULD). A number of different elements can be loaded on to the ULD and securely fastened.
This enables cargo to be loaded all at once, rather than on individual crates. By using this process, it will take less time to load the aircraft, minimising any delays on the ground.
By loading the goods on to ULDs before they enter the aircraft, there is less risk of them becoming damaged whilst in transit.
The pallet or container is designed to work efficiently with the handling equipment at the airport, which moves the goods around on the ground and loads them on to the aircraft.
This makes it far quicker to load the cargo than it would be if the individual components were manually loaded.
ULDs have also been designed to fit exactly into the spaces provided within the aircraft. They can be used on both passenger planes and specially adapted cargo aircraft.
As they fit precisely, it limits the amount of space that is wasted, thereby maximising the efficiency of the plane. Some types of ULDs can be used on different aircraft, which enables them to be quickly transferred between planes if necessary.
However, there are some ULDs that only fit on to specific planes. It’s important to determine the route and type of aircraft to be used before the cargo is loaded on to a pallet or container.
What Are the Different ULDs?
A ULD can be either a pallet or a container. A ULD pallet is constructed from aluminium sheets and there are different-sized pallets for varying loads and aircraft.
Each pallet can be fitted with a net lug over the top, which is locked into the rims for additional security.
Standard Air Freight Pallet Size
A standard pallet has a loadable base of 304cm x 210cm.
This type of pallet can be used on A300, A310, A330, A340, 747 and MD-11 aircraft.
10ft Air Freight Pallet Size
A 10ft pallet measures 304cm x 230cm and has been designed for use on A300, A310, A330, A340, 747 and MD-11 planes.
20ft Air Freight Pallet Size
There is also a 20ft pallet, which fits securely in 747 and MD-11 aircraft. The useable size of the base is 592cm x 230cm.
Heavy Duty Air Freight Pallet
For heavier loads, there is a heavy-duty pallet that measures 304cm x 231cm.
This can fit on to a wide range of aircraft, including the A300, A310, A330, A340, 747 and MD-11.
ULD Pallet Containers
ULD pallet containers are completely closed units which can include refrigeration systems for perishable goods.
They can be manufactured entirely from aluminium or from a mixture of aluminium for the frame and Lexan for the walls.
Containers are manufactured in a range of different specifications, depending on the type of load and the aircraft that is to be used.
There is a maximum volume of 14.6 cubic metres and the largest combined weight that can be accommodated is 6,804kg.
ULDs are an essential element of air cargo, as there is very little time allowed for planes to be loaded and unloaded once they’re on the ground.
While a plane is stationary, it is costing the carrier money, so it’s vital that everything can be loaded quickly and securely to enable the plane to take off on time.
This is particularly important where passengers or connecting flights are concerned, as a small delay may lead to further problems at the first destination.