Understanding Domestic Airfreight Services

Toll Priority, TNT and now StarTrack (since their merger with Australian Air Express) are the main domestic airfreight service providers in Australia. All provide similar door to door services and utilise a combination of self owned and operated aircraft and the cargo services of the two major domestic Australian airlines.

StarTrack is partly owned by Qantas and Australia Post while Toll Priority is affiliated with Virgin Blue Airlines. The Toll Group, until recently, was a major Virgin Blue shareholder.

Both organisations have extensive ground transport fleets, usually small vans, that are used to undertake the pick up and delivery of freight to and from the respective cargo handling terminals and their customer sites.

Many other domestic transport service providers will offer company branded domestic airfreight services but in essence they will simply be sub contracting the airfreight services the domestic airfreight carriers and then utilise their own ground transport fleets to pick up and deliver the freight to and from their customers.

Domestic Airfreight is a premium service and as such attracts much higher freight rates than other available alternatives.

Domestic airfreight services can be sub categorised as follows:

  • Same Day (Next Flight)
  • Next Business Day
  • Off Peak
  • Fixed Cost Labels / Satchels

Same Day (Next Flight) Service

The Same Day service is used for parcels and documents that need to be delivered interstate on the same business day.

This service utilises the next available domestic passenger flight coupled with the service providers existing ground transport fleet to deliver urgent shipments to all capital cities and many major rural locations throughout Australia.

Typical transit time for such movements is the standard flight time between the two locations plus an additional two hours at both origin and destination for ground transport, airline processing and airline handling.

Next Business Day

The Next Business Day service is used for parcels and documents that must be delivered as early as possible on the next business day. In most instances delivery is guaranteed to take place between 9am and midday on the business day following dispatch but earlier delivery times can be negotiated.

This service uses a combination of service provider operated aircraft and domestic cargo aircraft coupled with the service providers existing ground transport fleet to deliver urgent shipments to all capital cities and many major rural locations throughout Australia.

Next Business Day Fixed Cost Labels / Satchels

In addition to the standard basic and per KG rate schedule for next business day parcel shipments most service providers will also offer a pre-paid or fixed cost service for smaller sized shipments.

This type of service provides a fixed cost for shipments falling within designated cubic weight brackets. These rates apply to small cartons and items that that are capable of fitting within plastic envelopes (satchels) supplied by the service provider.

Typical weight breaks for these fixed cost shipments (parcel or satchels) is usually 1kg, 3kg or 5 kg.

Off Peak

This is effectively a road express service that is offered as a less expensive and less time critical alternative to the Next Business Day service.

Typical transit time for this service is as per the standard road express expectations.

From the service providers perspective it also provides a means of offering a single supplier solution to those customers whose predominant requirement is for a next business day airfreight service but who may also have a need to send larger or non urgent shipments via a less expensive road freight service.

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