IATA/ICAO transport

We have recently written about the transport of dangerous goods in road transport (ADR transport). In this article, however, we focus on the transport of hazardous goods by air, which is often referred to only as IATA transport or ICAO transport.

What is IATA?

IATA  is the International Air Transport Association. Their headquarters are located in Montreal and also in Geneva. Besides, today, the organization brings together 260 carriers using airlines.

The organization periodically organizes conferences, at which they determine, for example, a transport tariff system for logistics services.


ICAO is the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The organization deals with the development and implementation of international regulations governing the safety of global air navigation. Besides, it supports the development of air transport.

Transport of dangerous goods

An important issue of transporting hazardous goods is first and foremost to pay attention to the means of transport itself. Also, the products are transported in slightly specific conditions. In air transport, there is no room for even the slightest deviations from the restrictive safety rules. Air transport is subject to the greatest restrictions in terms of the type and quantity of goods transported.

Air transport applies model recommendations as well as Technical Instructions, which constitute the minimum safety during air transport. Also, carriers and loading and unloading ports are subject to additional requirements and restrictions. The requirements should be checked each time when planning the transportation of hazardous materials.


Regulations that apply to the transport of hazardous goods by air include information on the necessary training and responsibility for hazardous products, rules for the classification of hazardous goods (in accordance with UN recommendations), rules for packaging, labeling, packaging specifications, instructions for packing goods, as well as rules for creating documentation for dangerous goods.

Usually, dangerous goods are transported by cargo plane.

What are the hazardous materials?

Hazardous materials are items or substances whose properties may cause a threat to health, safety, possessions as well as the environment. They are listed on the DGR hazardous materials list or are classified in accordance with these rules, and their description is included in the relevant acts of law. Also, the transport of hazardous materials is subject to the special regulations of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (which are interpretations of regulations developed by the ICAO Committee of Experts).

Some goods have been identified as being too dangerous to be carried by air, while some may be carried with the consent of the countries involved in the transport.

There are nine groups (classes) of hazardous materials, taking into account their characteristic properties that may pose a threat to air transport.

  • 1 – explosive materials
  • 2 – gases
  • 3 – flammable liquids
  • 4 – flammable solids
  • 5 – oxidizing substances and organic pesticides
  • 6 – toxic and infectious substances
  • 7 – radioactive materials
  • 8 – corrosive substances
  • 9 – miscellaneous hazardous materials

Documents and packaging

For each shipment containing hazardous materials specified and classified in DGR, the sender must complete the document “Dangerous Goods Sender Declaration,” the so-called “Sender’s Declaration” (unless a declaration is not required as per DGR’s regulations). The Sender’s Declaration must be completed in English in two copies.

Also, you must obtain entry on the MAWB (Master Air Way Bill) transport list.

What is more, a written NOTOC document should be sent to the captain of the aircraft, stating what goods are on board, in what containers it has been placed, in which compartments and on which route it is transported.

Furthermore, packaging used for air transport must be of good quality and designed in the way to secure goods and prevents leakage. Direct contact of packaging with hazardous materials must also be resistant to chemical reaction and other effects of such materials.

Each shipment containing hazardous materials must also be marked with an appropriate label, by the regulations of the relevant Instructions, and must be marked with the proper shipping name of its contents and UN (United Nations) identification number.

There are four types of transporting hazardous materials:

  • With UN specification – UN specification marking must be durable, which means it is printed or embossed directly on the packaging and also it is legible and placed in a visible place.
  • for limited quantities – LTD QTY (LIMITED QUANTITY)
  • without UN specification,
  •  for very small amounts (EXCEPTED QUANTITY).
Air Transport

Air transport is not the cheapest mode of transportation, however by choosing this option we can expect our goods to arrive very quickly.

When you make up your mind on the transport of dangerous goods by air, you must remember about many restrictions and regulations that are associated with it.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 3 / 5. Vote count: 2

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.