Airfreight pallets, which may also be known as unit load devices, are frequently used for both wide and narrow body aircraft. They allow large amounts of goods to be packed into one unit, which reduces the amount of goods that need to be loaded.
These pallets can be quickly and easily handled by ground crews which ensures flights leave on time. Each pallet which is shipped by airfreight will have its own manifest, which allows the items it stores to be tracked. Plastic pallets are preferred over wooden models because they are lighter and reduce transport costs. While they are more costly, they have become the standard for goods that need to be shipped by air.
Types of Pallets Used for Airfreight
The pallets used on aircraft will come in two basic types, and this is plastic containers or plastic pallets. The pallets will usually be outfitted with rims which are used to lock the lugs for the cargo net. The containers, which are sometimes referred to as pods, are closed units made from a combination of Lexan, aluminum, and other materials. When purchasing pallets to be transported via air, it is important to make sure they're compatible with the aircraft that will be used to transport them.
For example, the Boeing 767 works best with LD2 or LD8 pallets, because of its narrow fuselage. The Boeing 787 by contrast is compatible with LD3s and LD6s. Each aircraft has a limit to the amount of weight it can carry, and pallets must be in compliance with this.
The weight capacity will typically be a measurement of the number of pallets that can be stored. A pallet used for airfreight will often be identifiable by a number, and a prefix of three letters will be used to note its type.
Choosing the Best Pallet for Air Transport
These heavy duty Plastic pallets are much better than wooden pallets when it comes to airfreight, as they are safer, lighter and easier to handle. When deciding which pallet you want to use, it is best to use a standardized model, as this allows more goods to be shipped, and it also saves time. A pallet which uses a standard design will snap into place when loaded, and they can then be secured without trouble.
Airfreight pallets may also be designated by an IATA code. On a passenger flight, the pallets will be stored in the bottom hold, but for freighter aircraft they will be placed in the top deck. For the majority of air shipments, these pallets are the most common type of ULD. There are dozens of design variations, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are designed for operations that require a heavy lift.
Pallet and Airplane Compatibility
While it is possible to have custom pallets designed for airfreight, it is important that they be designed in compliance with the aircraft that will process them. This will ensure that the air crew responsible for handling the goods are able to pack and secure them correctly, which will allow them to be transported without damage.