IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group (IAG), is to introduce a charging fee for using paper air waybills (AWB) as part of its drive to become digital-first.

From 3rd April, customers who opt for paper AWB when booking cargo shipments will be charged a £10 fee, whereas switching to a digital AWB (eAWB) is free of charge.

The air cargo industry has historically relied on paper processes for the contract of carriage between freight forwarders and the airline, adding up to over 7,800 tonnes of paper documents processed per year. Using eAWBs offers a more sustainable alternative and provides a seamless end-to-end service for its customers that eliminates the risk of human error.

David Rose, Chief Transformation Officer at IAG Cargo said: “We are looking to lead the way with our customers worldwide when it comes to delivering a customer proposition that has quality and sustainability at its core,” said IAG Cargo chief transformation officer, David Rose.

“Our commitment to eAWB will see IAG Cargo significantly reducing paper usage through the cargo journey as we move to eAWB usage across our network. eAWB is the first step of many steps in our ambitious destination digital journey, and we are excited to use the data provided to roll out future digital initiatives that will see us become more sustainable and reliable.”

The eAWB has been introduced as part of IAG Cargo’s ‘Destination Digital’ strategy to transform the business digitally. With nearly 50% of customers already using eAWB, IAG Cargo is targeting an adoption rate of 100% by the end of 2023.

Last week IAG Cargo posted its full-year financial results for 2022, with commercial revenues of €1.6bn.