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Table of Contents


The type of aircraft selected will depend on the needs identified and the mode of distribution. For example, air-drops in flooded and conflict environments require very different assets than passenger movements to an established airport.

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Antonov 12-BP

Beech 1900-C1

Cessna 208-B Grand Caravan

Ilyushin II-76TD

Helicopter Mi8-MTV1


Commonly used aircraft are:


  • ensure that the articles or substances are not forbidden for transport by air;
  • determine tracking number, proper shipping name, class or division followed by the subsidiary risk (where applicable);
  • ensure that the packing requirements relevant to the article or substance are met;
  • ensure the proper marking and labelling of each package of dangerous goods;
  • the crew reserve the right to refuse any dangerous goods that are not declared on the dangerous goods transport document; and
  • ''Shipper's Declaration'' which includes proper shipping name, class/division, packing group, number of packages, net quantity and any other applicable information.
  • Some countries over flight clearances can change if there is hazardous material on the aircraft Early communication is essential

For further information on provisions for transporting lithium metal and lithium batteries, please see the following document from IATA - 2020 Lithium Battery Guidance Document


It is possible for humanitarian organizations to negotiate facilitation measures with the host government Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the import of humanitarian commodities into a country affected by a humanitarian emergency. Facilitation measures involve the application of simplified customs procedures in order to speed up the delivery of international humanitarian assistance, including deliveries provided by military, civil defence and civil protection assets. Despite the existence of numerous international agreements few countries have ratified them, thus procedures for obtaining duty and tax free waivers vary from country to country. Furthermore, despite the existence of facilitation measures, normal import procedures may continue to apply.


  • coordinated land transport to and from the airfields;
  • fewer administration procedures for each participant;
  • increased information sharing – air field quality, warehouses etc.;
  • cost efficient use of:
    • labourers
    • fuel
    • warehouses
    • security
  • enables those organizations that are unable to charter an aircraft, for whatever reason, to operate at reasonable cost.


Different air operations concepts can facilitate air coordination. Air Operations Concept (Models) The picture below illustrates air distribution of cargo into a crisis region.




Air Operations in Emergencies


When opting for air transport the organisation must recognise that aircraft require extensive and carefully organized ground support in their area of operation. Information should be obtained from civil aviation authorities, airport managers, or any other sources within the aviation industry and ensures that the staff designated to manage the operation are qualified and have the right skills.