A DHL cargo plane. Image credit airnewstimes.co.uk

A DHL cargo plane. Image credit airnewstimes.co.uk

ZIMSEC O Level Commerce Notes: Transport: Air transport

Air transport.


  • Is fast over long distances.
  • It is a relatively safe mode of transporting goods i.e.:
  • There are less riks of theft of and damage of goods during transportation.
  • The insurance costs are low.
  • The cost of packaging is low.
  • Ideal for carrying expensive and valuable goods e.g. jewellary and electronics.
  • Suitable for ferrying light-weight goods e.g. flowers.
  • Is suitable for carrying pershiable products to the markets e.g. meat,flowers and vegetables.
  • The cargo can bear the cost of transport.
  • Operates on fixed routes.
  • Operates on fixed schedules.


  • Expensive over both short and long distances.
  • Not suitable for short distances.
  • Aeroplanes are expensive to purchase.
  • The inital capital investiment costs are high.
  • The operational costs are high.
  • The maintanance and servicing costs are very high.
  • Air freight charges are high.
  • Not suitable for carrying goods in large quantities.
  • Not a direct mode of transport.
  • Not readily available and accessible to individuals.
  • Personal ownership is very unlikely.
  • Affected by poor weather conditions e.g. heavy snow and thunderstorms

Reasons for increase in the volume of cargo carried by air.

  • Air transport is fast over long distances.
  • Air transport is very safe.
  • An increase in:
  • the number of aeroplanes available.
  • International trade.
  • The development of:
  • Specialised cargo aeroplanes e.g. refrigirated flower planes.
  • Modern planes that have a higher carrying capacity.
  • The construction of large and modern airports with advanced cargo handling facilities.
  • The construction of more and more airports.
  • The competition amongst air freight providers resulting in decreases in air freight charges.
  • Technological advances like the computerisation and automation of loading and unload of cargo.

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