Air Cargo ULD | Short Introduction

Air Cargo ULD | Short Introduction


ULD Air Freight


For shipping air cargo airlines use Unit Load Device (ULD) to transport passenger's baggage, cargo, and mail on aircraft [ wide-body aircraft and specific narrow-body aircraft]. Transporting baggage, cargo, and mail by air is not that easy process, it needs time, enough ground handling crew - GSE- and many parties may handle these loads.


Unit Load Device (ULD) offer airlines with the easiest, safest, and fastest transport process to move passenger's baggage, cargo, and mail to around the world.


 *Freight Consolidator send shipments combined together via shipping consolidation, however, he offer cheap freight rates because airline give him a unit load devices (ULD) air freight rate which is cheapest rate.


Do you know why?

Because Unit Load Device (ULD) allows airlines to bundled a large quantity of baggage, cargo, and mail to many single units. Doing this leads to rapid loading / unloading of the aircraft, good loads handling and installation compatible with the aircraft loading system.


In addition, each single Unit Load Device (ULD) has its own packing list so that it is easy for airlines to track any lost items.


What is A Unit Load Device (ULD)

You may have heard the term Unit Load Device (ULD), this term refers to any type of aircraft cargo container or aircraft cargo pallet [ pallet net combination] which by its nature fits directly with the loading system in the aircraft without the need for additional restraint tool and it became as an integral part of the aircraft.


The purpose of using the cargo ULDs is to group the cargo parts into a standard large unit to facilitate rapid loading / unloading of the aircraft, good cargo handling and installation compatible with the aircraft loading system.

 

Are you happy with this clear definition?

Nice,

 

Is Unit Load Device (ULD) Required Certification?

Unit Load Devices (ULDs) are removable aircraft parts. It has to be robust enough to cope with extreme circumstances during flight [ it must be capable of restraint the loads and providing adequate protection to the aircraft floor load systems and aircraft structure during flight].


In most cases, Unit Load Devices (ULDs) required to be approved "certified" for use by the relevant Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for the country where the manufacturer is located. It must meet the CAA requirements from design, testing, production, operation and repairs.


While certification is important, non-certified Unit Load Device (ULD) may be used by airlines if it deemed to be capable of withstanding the forces from the contents during extreme flight condition [ such as turbulence].


e.g. FAA use technical standards order (TSO) for certification of Unit Load Devices (ULDs)

 

Is it complicated to recognizing both certified and non-certified Unit Load Device (ULD)?

Do not worry, you can recognize both by Unit Load Device (ULD) identification code. Of course, you can do that, the key is with the first letter of the ULD Identification code.

Just continue reading.

 

How can you identify a Unit Load Device (ULD)?

Each ULD is identified by its ULD code, this code is a unique combination of letters and numbers, starting with a three-letter prefix that identifies they type of ULD. 

Also, this prefix is followed by a unique serial number to distinguish it from others of the same type. While the three last two or three characters are designating the owner of the ULD.

 (e.g., aircraft container owned by specific Yemen Airways).


First, I will start explaining the three-letter prefix code

1- 1st Letter: ULD Category

2- 2nd Letter: ULD Base


3- 3rd Letter: ULD Contour or Compatibility for each aircraft type.


Then , a unique serial number



Finally , three last two or three characters are designating the owner of the ULD - Yemen Airways
 


The [AKE] ULD code is part of IATA ULDR identification system [ more e.g. AAP, AMA,PMC,PAG,RKN etc. ] which is preferable.

 

There are many other identification codes such as [ LD2, LD3, LD9 etc. for ATA identification system ].


Note :

LD= lower deck.

 

Conclusion

Unit Load Devices (ULD refers to any type of aircraft container or pallet which by its nature fits directly with the loading system in the aircraft without the need for additional restraint tool.

ULDs required to be approved "certified" for use by the relevant Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for the country where the manufacturer is located. It must meet the CAA requirements from design, testing, production, operation and repairs.


Each ULD is identified by its code. This code is a unique combination of letters and numbers, starting with a three-letter prefix that identifies they type of ULD  and followed by a unique serial number to distinguish it from others of the same type. While the three last two or three characters are designating the owner of the ULD.


It allows airlines to bundled a large quantity of baggage, cargo, and mail to many single units. Doing this leads to rapid loading / unloading of the aircraft, good loads handling and installation compatible with the aircraft loading system.

 

 

For further reading:

-  IATA ULD Regulations

                          



Maged Saeed AL-Hadabi

I’m Instructor / Maged Saeed Al-Hadabi. ​ Air Cargo / IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations / Safety Management System Senior Instructor, Auditor [ Yemen Airways] . Approved IATA DGR/ SMS Instructor by Yemen Civil Aviation Authority. We hope you find Aviation Professional website not only informative, but interesting and helpful as well. Leave your comment , thank you.

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