Basic Course on Air Cargo

Chapter : Air cargo Guide

The air cargo guide is a basic reference publication for shipping freight by air.  It contains current domestic and international cargo flight schedules, including pure-cargo, wide-body, and combination passenger-cargo flights.  Each monthly issue also contains information on air carrier’s specialized services, labeling requirements, decoding of airlines and aircrafts, air carriers and freight forwarders, cargo charters, interline air-freight agreements, aircraft loading charts, and a great deal more information regarding air cargo services.

All airlines publish their own timetables and information guides. These come in a variety of presentations, each reflecting the style and approach most suitable to the publishing airline. Although these airline timetables are the most accurate and complete source of information on each carrier’s flight schedule, their ever increasing number make it difficult to store, file and maintain complete up to date records. This is one of the reasons that the cargo agents find it convenient to use the guides which publish a summary of carrier’s flights schedules on a monthly basis.

The OAG Air Cargo Guide:  The OAG Air Cargo is published monthly. This guide contains the basic information on Cargo Flight Schedules and other general information related to Air Cargo.  The OAG does not contain any rate section but provides various listings. OAG Air Cargo Guide can be used alone. Reference need not be made to other OAG publications for decoding of information appearing in the guide.  Schedules for passenger flights are not listed in the OAG Air Cargo Guide and it contains only airline schedule for All Cargo & Combi Flights.  Other sections in the OAG Guide are as follows:


  1. How to Use” section.
  2. Flight Itineraries
  3. Flight schedules
  4. City/Airport Codes
  5. Aircraft decoding
  6. Airline decoding

How to use OAG Air Cargo Guide?


Checking the Flight Schedules


a) To locate a flight schedule in the OAG refer to the name of the departure city. This city is printed in bold typeface preceded by the word TO.  The destination city listing is in alphabetical order. The name of the city appears in a frame at the beginning of the listing and is repeated at the top of each subsequent column.

Example: Cargo schedules FROM CHICAGO

From – the country name, the 3 letter IATA code and the GMT time

Apt –name,3 letter airport code and distance from airport to the city center In miles

b) Having located the departure city, refer to the arrival city by going through the listing beneath the arrival city.  names are printed in medium type-face followed, on the same line, and its IATA-3-letter code. Their listing is also in alphabetical order if more than one airport exists the 3 letter code and name at which the flight arrives will be shown.

Example: Cargo schedules TO BANGKOK

c) After having located the arrival city and departure city, the flight schedules from one city to the other can be looked at. Check if there are through flights an transfer connections listed (involving more than one connection/change in flight)

Through Flights:  The through flights are listed first. Column headings are printed at the top of the left-hand column on each page. Column heading provide the following flight information: Validity from to Dates appearing in these columns indicate the first day. (Eff.-effective on) and the last day (Dis-Discontinued after) on which the flight operates (operational periods). If no date is shown, it means that the flight is in service at least during entire period of validity of the monthly issue of the OAG being consulted.

20jun 10jan      :   indicate the flight begins on 20th Jun, it operates till Jan 10th 

20jun      :   indicate the flight will stop operating on the 20 June

20jun __             :   indicate the flight begins on 20 June onwards

Days of service (FREQUENCY): 1-mon ,2-tue,3 wed etc.  123----  means that the flight operates on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, x indicates the days on which the flight does not operate.  X57 means that except on Fridays and Sundays the flight does not operate.

Arrive: This column shows the time of arrival  in local time. the symbols are found in @ how to use pages ‘. Thus +1, means arrival on the day after departure, +2, two days after departure,* indicates the 2nd day, If no sign is shown this means that the arrival is on the same day. example, 0740 + 1 NRT means that the flight will arrive at Tokyo, Narita International Airport at 0740 on the following day.

Dep. (Departure) column shows the departure time from the departure city in local time. Note that 24-hour clock system is used in the guide. 3 Letter IATA code is used for cities and for cities with multiple airports, 3 letter IATA airport codes are used.  To decode such information refers to the City/Airport codes in section A-city/Airport codes.

Flight no: This column shows the airline prefix (designator) in 2-letter code followed by the flight number. The airline decoding page is in section A-Airline schedule information of the OAG Air Cargo Guide. NW901 means flight number 901 operated by Northwest Airlines.

Aircraft Type: This column indicates the types of aircraft used. The codes are explained under the heading Aircraft Decoding in Section A of the OAG Air Cargo Guide. 74F mean that flight NW 701 is operated by a B747 Freighter.

Class: The codes in this column indicate the cargo capabilities eg boeing ,airbus etc. These codes are explained on the “How to Use” page of flight Schedules Section .eg NW 901 is operated by an all-cargo freighter (AC)

AC  BC PC P are the four types used

S (Stops): This column indicates the number of stops made by the flight between the departure and arrival cities.

0 – no stops ,1- one stop etc. The sign M means more than 9 stops.

Transfer connections:  The OAG Air Cargo Guide publishes a selection of transfer connection flights involving one or more changes of flights between the departure and the arrival cities. As with the ABC Air Cargo Guide, not all possibilities are listed.  Transfer connections are listed under the heading Connections and are shown on consecutive lines. It no through flights are published but only transfer connections, then the heading “Connection” is not used.  The transfer city appears in IATA 3-letter code on the first and second lines. The flight information is presented in the same sequence as in the ABC Air Cargo Guide.

Single Transfer connections:  Transfer connections are listed in chronological order origin point of departure  timings  and arrival at final destination are typed in bold Validity from –here the dates indicate the first day and the last day on which the whole journey or transfer will be applied to.

Dep :timings /airports  will be on two lines eg BOM TO NYC VIA LHR

  1. from origin to transfer point BOM 1000TO LHR 1700
  2. and on the second line from transfer point to final destination LGW 2100TO EWR + 0500

Note 1

The second line shows in bold type the local time of arrival at the final destination.

The day of arrival is indicated by the sign “+” followed by the number of days after the days of departure. The IATA 3-letter code following the arrival time refers to the airport of arrival of the final destination.


The day of arrival/departure at the transfer point is not shown for transfer  connections in the OAG. Reference must therefore be made to the through flight schedules between the cities concerned if there is any doubt regarding the day of arrival/departure at the connecting points.


The airport of arrival of an incoming flight and the airport of departure of an outgoing

connecting flight at multi-airport cities might not necessarily be the same. Even if in

most cases the shipment will be transferred from one airport to the other (thus increasing the transshipment time), it is advisable to avoid this kind of connection whenever possible.

Note when transfer connections exist check that the aircraft typea are compatible

Double transfer connections: The OAG Air Cargo Guide also publishes double transfer connections i.e. connections via two transfer points, E.g.


MSY EWR 1959 TUE  2332 TUE   CO746   BC0AB3

JFK   ATH  2240 WED 1445 THU  OA426   BC0727 

ATH  CAI 1915 THU 2010 THU OA325   BC0AB3


Origin: MSY dep. 1959 Tue arrival final destination 2010 Thu

Flight routings: The routings of the flights are listed under general information in the OAG guides, under flight routings so you can find out where there is a stop as indicated in the stops column. Non stop single sector flights do not have a routing. To check the routing select the flight number and check under routings where the flight stops.