Lufthansa Cargo now only flies with electronic air waybills

Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2022

FRANKFURT, Germany—Lufthansa Cargo announced it’s going completely paperless on shipments starting 27 March 2022 in line with the International Air Transport Association’s 2020 industry goal of going 100 percent digital on air waybills (eAWB) by the end of this year.

Lufthansa Cargo said all shipments on feasible lanes will be carried with eAWB starting this summer. It will also introduce a “paper-to-eAWB” service, through which the few remaining paper-based AWBs will be digitized at shipment acceptance and then continue to accompany the shipment as an eAWB.

“Over the past few years, we have driven many digitization initiatives in the air cargo industry. In fact, eliminating paper AWBs in the future could be one of the most important steps. A majority of our customers already use eAWB exclusively. With the new service, we can now easily take all customers with us on our digitization journey and enable them to take the step towards paperless transports as well,” explains Ashwin Bhat, Chief Commercial Officer at Lufthansa Cargo.

Dr. Jan-Wilhelm Breithaupt, Vice President Global Fulfillment Management Lufthansa Cargo, said the company is very pleased in achieving in its goal of transporting paperless shipments.

“Our goal is to make communication with our customers easier, faster and better with the help of our digital services. We have implemented the eAWB process as an industry standard of IATA continuously and worldwide at Lufthansa Cargo since 2014. A five-year data quality initiative that effectively de-cluttered the data interface between customers and Lufthansa Cargo was, among other things, an important cornerstone that enabled sustainable eAWB penetration and consistent top positions in global rankings,” he said.

Lufthansa’s newly-introduced service is mandatory on feasible lanes for all forwarding companies that do not yet use electronic air waybills.

Routes that are eAWB-feasible are those for which the regulatory basis for the use of electronic air waybills is in place. This means that all shippers who have not been able to use eAWB so far due to their own infrastructure can also switch to paperless transports.

If local regulations in a country require the presentation of a paper AWB, Lufthansa Cargo will re-produce the AWB and it will accompany the shipment on the flight. In addition to more efficient transport routes and faster information flows, paper is also saved during transports. This sustainability aspect also plays into the United Nations’ sustainability goals “Climate Action” and “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure,” to which Lufthansa Cargo has committed itself along with other goals.