Air Waybill (AWB)

Posted in Operations and Supply Chain Terms, Total Reads: 1113
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Definition: Air Waybill (AWB)

An Air way-bill (AWB) or an air consignment note is a receipt issued by an international airline during transport of gods from one airport to another. It is a contract of carriage of goods. In simple words, it is a documentary proof of carriage of goods. In no way it is a document to the title of goods. Therefore, an AWB is non-negotiable.


Description: An AWB consists of an 11 digit number. This number is used to make bookings, check the delivery status of consignments and track shipments. The 11 digit number consists of:

• First 3 digits- Airline prefix. Each airline has an assigned 3 digit number by the International Air transport association (IATA). These numbers help us identify the document issuing airlines

• Next 7 digits- Running numbers. There is one number for each consignment.

• Last digit-Check digit. It is arrived by dividing the 7 digit running number by 7. The remainder is the check digit. It is because of this reason that no air way-bill number ends with a number greater than 6.


AWBs are issued in 8 sets of different colours which are as follows:

• Green copy- It is the first original. It is the Issuing carrier’s copy

• Pink copy- It is the second original copy. It is the Consignee’s copy

• Blue copy- It is the third original copy. It is the Shipper’s copy

• Brown copy- It is the delivery receipt. It acts as a proof of delivery

• White copy- The remaining copies are white. One is for the agent and the others are extra copies


Functions: An AWB serves the following functions:

• It is a contract of carriage

• It acts as an evidence of receipt of goods

• It serves the purpose of a freight bill

• It can also be a certificate of insurance

• It facilitates customs declarations


Hence, this concludes the definition of Air Waybill (AWB) along with its overview.

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