Air transport from China

Update date:
21 May 2024
Date of publication:
04 Jun 2023
Reading time: 3 minutes

Table of contents:

Air transport is currently the fastest form of transporting cargo from China. Unfortunately, the price is quite high and far exceeds the maritime transport whether rail transport.

 Air freight rates are quoted based on the weight of the cargo and are given in kg. 

When it comes to the cost of airfreight from China, it is very dependent on the time period in which you want to ship your cargo. The price per kg will vary from US$ 3 to even sometimes US$ 10 per kg. It all depends on the market situation, and rates can change within hours, so it is best to keep asking the companies we work with for updates. 

China is home to many international airports, such as Beijing Airport (PEK), Shanghai-Pudong Airport (PVG), Hong Kong Airport (HKG) and many others. These airports operate direct flights to many cities around the world.

China has both national and international airlines that offer flights to various destinations. National airlines such as Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines are the largest carriers in the country. In addition, many international airlines offer flights to China, such as Emirates, Lufthansa, British Airways and others.

Airlines often quote transport times of approximately 3 to 7 working days. Please here however, still take into account when exactly it is planned ETD aircraft, and we must add time for customs clearance of approximately 1-2 days. 

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The calculations by which the freight rate is calculated are as follows: 

We calculate the rate for freight from the actual or paid weight. 

If we have, for example, 3 CBM of goods weighing 100 kg, the rate for the load will be calculated according to the formula 1 CBM = 167 kg. We always have to check whether the rate will be calculated from the actual weight or the payable weight. 

If the weight per 1 CBM is greater than 167 kg , we calculate the rate normally from the actual weight of the goods, however, if the load has at least 1 CBM. 

Which shipments do I send via courier and which ones using an intermediary? 

Cargo up to 100 kg will be best sent by a courier service such as DHL or FEDEX. For this purpose, it is a good idea to contact a logistics company that will help us to send the cargo via this company. It is advisable to find a shipping company that can advise us on this. 

Which Incoterms formulas are most commonly used for air transport? 

In the case of imports from China, the most common formula on which we will import

the goods will be the formula EXW, FOB or FCA. 


In the case of EXW formulas , the company that organises the transport for us will collect the goods from the shipper and carry out the export clearance of the goods. However, we must ensure that the shipper hands over the goods to the company that arranges the transport for us. packing listand commercial invoice. 


In this case, our shipper should arrange all documents with export customs clearance. The company that organises the transport for us in this case is only responsible for the freight on the cargo in question. 


In the case of FCA formulae The shipper is responsible for the delivery of the goods, but the shipping company which organises the transport for us is responsible for the documentation on the Chinese side. 

What elements are involved in air transport? 

→ documentation and customs clearance in China 

→ airport costs in CN 

→ air freight 

→ airport costs in PL 

→ Customs clearance in PL 

What goods are not allowed to be transported by air ? 

→ gases and dangerous goods 

→ batteries are subject to special restrictions

→ certain chemicals

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