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Aviation Advocacy Group Continues to Promote Electronic Airway Bills

The air cargo industry's slow migration toward electronic documentation has led the International Air Transport Association to revise its internal deadlines for a second time.

Guillaume Drucy, head of cargo e-business management at IATA, told a media briefing at the association’s headquarters in Geneva that penetration of e-Airway Bills was 10.2 percent as of October, just half IATA’s previous target. IATA is now aiming for 22 percent e-AWB penetration by 2014 and 80 percent by 2016.

Drucy said the adoption of the multilateral e-AWB agreement in March, allowing airlines to connect with multiple forwarder customers on standardized terms, had removed a major obstacle and would accelerate take-up. By October, 53 airlines and 411 forwarders had signed up, covering 79 percent of the potential AWB market from the carrier perspective and 41 percent in respect of airfreight forwarding.

The reality is that commitment will be needed from customs authorities in large airfreight markets such as China, previously resistant to electronic declarations, if IATA is to achieve 80-percent e-AWB penetration on its revised three-year timeline.

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