Air Waybill (AWB)

Air waybill – Definition

An air waybill (AWB) is the central accompanying shipping document of an air freight consignment. The AWB is a contract between the sender of the goods and one or more airlines that transport them. Thus, the AWB is a waybill such as the CMR for road transport. It was released in 1999 by IATA as a standardised document.

Apart from the classic paper format as a printout, an electronic version, the eAWB, is also available. In paper form, the AWB has three signed copies. A green one for the airline, a blue one for the sender and the original in red for the receiver. Additional copies are highlighted in yellow.

The AWB is essential for a punctual delivery, as without it, the goods transport may not be carried out because the release for air transport is not available. Only a transport per on-board courier is possible without the AWB as the delivery is treated as luggage and not as air freight.


  • Evidence of the contract of carriage
  • Sender’s acceptance of the transport conditions
  • Confirmation for the receipt of the goods
  • Calculation basis for the freight invoice
  • Insurance certificate
  • Customs clearance document
Air Waybill

Who issues the document?

The shipper and carrier conclude an air freight contract which then needs an AWB that needs to be issued. In practice, the forwarder (as the IATA agent) issues the AWB for the sender. However, the sender is also liable for the contents and the correctness of the AWB.

What does the AWB include?  

Furthermore, the AWB contains a shipping list with a directory of special instructions and a list of other accompanying documents of the goods. They include, for example, the freight invoice, commercial invoices, customs documents, export licence, etc.

What is a master air waybill?

If multiple consignments are sent as a group, the freight documents of the grouped consignments are called master air waybills (MAWB) and the documents of the individual consignments are referred to as house air waybills (HAWB).

The add-on CarLo inAIR&SEA caters to the air and sea freight transport areas and can be used in addition to our transport management system CarLo. Here, among other things, you can print all documents relevant for the freight, such as the bill of lading, AWB, MAWB, etc.