What is Awb – Troubleinthepeace

Air waybill is a document issued by a carrier to confirm receipt of a shipment for carriage by air. This term in English is Air Waybill, often abbreviated as AWB.

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AWB function

In terms of functions, the Air Waybill plays the role of:

delivery receipt to the carrier, proof of the contract of carriage.

It should be noted that, AWB is not a title, and is therefore not transferable like a bill of lading (order type). In exceptional cases, in order to pay by letter of credit (L/C), the two parties will have to agree and do additional necessary procedures (such as a letter of guarantee commitment) to ask a bank to accept it. receive “endorsement” on the back of the AWB to pick up the goods (see more details here).

In terms of order, after the consignor delivers the goods to the carrier (carrier) and completes export customs procedures, the carrier will issue an air waybill. Because the transportation time by plane is very fast compared to sea ship, a set of AWB will be sent with the goods for quick reference by the parties and help the consignee to expedite the import procedure at the destination.

The original AWB bill of lading will be issued in multiple copies at the same time to many parties such as the carrier, consignee, consignor… After the goods arrive at their destination, the consignee or their agent comes to the carrier’s office to receive it. AWB and a set of documents attached to the goods. Depending on the agreement in the sales contract, the importer can also receive the AWB and the original documents by courier before the goods arrive for import procedures.

Contents and form of air waybill

Air waybill form specified by IATA. Below are samples and AWB contents of KoreanAir and UPS for your reference.


Some details on the front of the above AWB form are as follows:

Bill of Lading Number (AWB number)Airport of departure (Issuing carrier’s name and address)Shipper (Consignee)Consignee’s agent Issuing carrier’s agent,Route,Accounting information,Currency,Charges codes,Charges,Declare value for carriage,Declare value for customs,Amount of insurance,Handing information,Number of pieces,Other charges Prepaid Freight and Charges (Collect)Shipper of certification box Carrier of execution box Carrier-only box at destination (For carrier of use only at destination)Collection charges in destina tion currency, for carrier of use only).

Distinguish MAWB and HAWB

Regarding the type of bill of lading, the question I often see is: What is MAWB and HAWB? How to distinguish MAWB and HAWB?

In fact, both MAWB and HAWB are air waybill, but issued by 2 different entities:

HAWB stands for House Air Waybill (house bill of lading), issued by the forwarder MAWB is Master Air Waybill (master bill of lading), issued by the airline

In other words, when the shipper makes a reservation with the air forwarding company, the forwarder will issue a HAWB. In turn, the forwarder rebooked with the airline for that shipment, and the carrier will issue a MAWB.

This idea is similar to the distinction between HBL and MBL in shipping.

How many originals and copies does AWB have?

AWB usually has at least 9 copies, including 3 originals, and 6 or more copies. In the following section, I will summarize each AWB version, and image some samples of air waybill of airlines for your easy visualization.

See also: What is a Frame

Original No. 1, green, is for the carrier, used as evidence of the contract of carriage, and retained by the carrier issuing the bill of lading as an accounting document. This copy is signed by the shipper.Original #2, pink, intended for consignee, is sent with the consignment to its final destination and delivered to the consignee upon delivery.Original #3 , blue, for the consignor, is proof that the carrier has taken delivery of the goods and serves as proof of the contract of carriage. This copy is signed by both the carrier and the shipper.

I have collected samples of some of the originals in the image below so you can easily visualize the color of each copy.


Original No. 1


Original No. 2


Original No. 3


Original No. 4

After 3 originals, the copies are usually white numbered continuing from 4:

Version 4, yellow, is the delivery receipt, available at final destination. This copy is signed by the consignee and is retained by the final carrier as a delivery receipt and as proof that the carrier has completed the contract of carriage. Version 5, for arrival airport, available at the airport of destination. Version 6, for the 3rd carrier, used when the goods are transported at the 3rd airport. Version 7, for the 2nd carrier, used when the goods are transshipped at the airport. 2nd airport. Version No. 8, for the 1st carrier, is retained by the first carrier’s freight department during cargo handling. Version 9 is for agents, this copy is held by the agent. or retained by the issuing carrier. Versions 10 to 14 (if issued), are copies used for transportation only when necessary.

You can refer to the regulations on the number of KoreanAir AWB bills of lading in the figure below.

Compare sea waybill and air waybill

The bill of lading of these two modes of transport has the same characteristics of the bill of lading:

Is a consignment receipt and proof of contract of carriage Issued by the carrier, with basic contents such as: name of consignor, consignee, information about means of transport, shipment information…

However, there are some important differences between the sea waybill and the air waybill as follows:

Not transferable Transferable, if order delivery type
Issued after delivery to the carrier Released after the goods have been loaded on the ship
Release at least 9 copies Full set release: 3 originals, 3 copies
Used in air transportation Used in sea transportation
Not used with FAS, FOB, CFR and CIF in Incoterms. Can be used with all the conditions specified in Incoterms 2010
Governed by the Warsaw Convention, The Hague Convention as amended, the Montreal Convention Governed by the Hague Convention, Hauge-Visby, and the US COGSA Code 1936

Air waybill lookup

Airlines now allow to look up the status of shipments on their websites.

To be able to look up the air waybill, you go to the airline’s website and find the tracking section, then enter the AWB number to be able to find the information you need.

See a list of links to the carriers’ websites here.

Some questions related to air waybill

How many originals are there in the air waybill? AWB has 3 originals, along with at least 6 copies.

See also: What is the Family Deduction, Regulations on Family Deduction

Is the bill of lading non-transferable? The answer is NOWhat is the House Airway Bill? What is HAWB? Is a house bill of lading, issued by the forwarderWhat are HAWB and MAWB? HAWB stands for House Air Waybill (house bill of lading), and MAWB stands for Master Air Waybill (master bill of lading). These are all air waybills, but one is issued by the forwarder (HAWB), and the other is issued by the airline (MAWB).

At this point I would like to pause the article on Air Waybill, in a series on the topic Air freight.

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Category: FAQ

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