What is an AWB (Air Waybill)?

Any package that is being sent internationally by air courier will have a unique number printed on a document called an Air Waybill, often known as an AWB tracking number. The Air Waybill number serves to identify the shipment, offer details about it, and, most significantly, enable its tracking.

All parties engaged in the parcel’s transit (including those responsible for dispatching and receiving the delivery) will be provided with pertinent information thanks to the Air Waybill.

In addition to being a convenient way to track packages, the Air Waybill may be deciphered to provide information about the package’s sender, recipient, and delivery location.

Included in an Air Waybill are details such as the airport the cargo left from, the stated value (for customs), the number of items in the order, the weight, a description of the contents, and any further remarks. (such as the fact that the items within will spoil quickly). eBay, Etsy and UPS are just a few examples of online markets and delivery services that provide Air Waybill.

There is no universal standard for the format of an Air Waybill tracking number across all carriers; nonetheless, the following three components are universal across all Air Waybill tracking numbers.

The first two or three numbers of an Air Waybill represent the airline or carrier’s abbreviation. Following this will be a series of numbers that serve as a unique identifier for your package; these are the serial numbers. Possible final check digit follows. Additional digits and letters may be included, the format of which varies across service providers.

Most Air Waybill tracking numbers will consist of 11 digits. Fortunately, you may monitor your package without understanding the meaning of the AWB tracking number.

What is included in an Air Waybill document?

Place and date of issuing the document
Sender’s name, full address, and signature
Shipper’s name and address
Place and date of receiving the product to be shipped
Consignee’s name and full address
Sender and recipient reference numbers
Description of the type of goods, the way the shipment was packed, number of packages, weight in kilograms or pounds, dimensions: length, width, and height in centimeters or inches
Price of the product
Shipping costs
Information required to fulfill customs formalities
Additional information in accordance with the contract or required by the regulations of the given courier company.

In what ways are Air Waybill classified?

When it comes to air freight, there are two distinct forms of paperwork that must be completed, one by the shipper and one by the recipient.


Consolidated (bulk) shipments are governed by the rules of the MAWB (Master Air Waybill), a document that establishes the Air Waybill terms of transportation. The air carrier will produce and sign a separate document to issue the MAWB. The sender, or forwarder, is the business that transports items for several consumers.


It is common practice for forwarders to utilize an air waybill called a HAWB (House Air Waybill) when sending out shipments containing several identical items. The HAWB is a standard air waybill that provides a thorough description of the shipment. The exporter relies on the document’s being issued by the forwarder.

Daniel Szwed

Resourceful and innovative Marketing Pro, with 20+ years of progressive experience in the marketing and creative technology industry. Responsible for digital and traditional marketing efforts that promotes brand awareness, increases engagement, and drives revenue.