Safety in the air starts on the ground

Cargo handling is performed at thousands of airports all over the world by hundreds of companies, posing a high potential risk for deviations in the quality of handling. IATA actively drives the development of ground handling operations standards, best-practice processes, and procedures. We promote global consistency and harmonization.


A new era for air cargo

The pandemic has accelerated change and how air cargo and e-commerce are transforming to adapt to new consumer and market demands. We examine trends, consumer behaviors, the growing sustainability challenges, and answer one fundamental question:
How can airlines transform to satisfy our e-commerce partners and elevate the
customer experience?

> Download an extract of the document (pdf)  
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Giving back to the air cargo industry

IATA works to drive efficiency in all areas of cargo operations. The integration of those efficiencies into processes plays an increasingly critical role in today’s air freight industry. In Airmail, we work to guarantee an efficient supply chain for the delivery of e-commerce goods as well as regular mail. On Load Devices (ULD), IATA works to enable their safe, proper, and effective management, use, and control.


The air cargo industry is transforming to capitalize on e-commerce. Building global standards, creating partnerships, and fostering innovation are critical to making the most out of the worldwide expansion of online retail. IATA works to simplify the business and embrace new initiatives and technologies. Our objective is to make air cargo easier, faster, and smarter.

Operations Training

IATA offers the industry’s most dynamic and innovative training solutions for every aspect of the supply chain, including cargo operations and handling. The Cargo Training Taskforce (CTTF) provides recommendations on potential benefits of aligned and benchmarked training requirements based on existing regulations, manuals and RPs across cargo operations.

Cargo Facility of the Future

In the cargo facility of the future, humans and machines work in harmony to offer both higher efficiency and superior customer service. Fully automated high-rack warehouses, automated and green vehicles navigating autonomously through the facility, employees equipped with advanced tools, including artificial intelligence and augmented reality. The facility of the future will be safe and secure, green, automated, connected, and smart.


Working for efficient & safe operations

The IATA Cargo Handling Consultative Council (ICHC) brings together cargo handlers and airlines involved in cargo operations. ICHC has a plan aligned to Cargo Committee's (CC) priorities and works with the Ground Operations Group (GOG) and other sub-groups. Its objective is to develop best-practice processes and procedures to address all aspects of cargo acceptance and handling.

2022 UPDATES: IATA Manuals include all necessary information about new regulations taking effect as of January 1, 2022 and how they impact the shipment and handling of air cargo. Learn more

Cargo Handling Manual (ICHM)

The IATA Cargo Handling Manual (ICHM) is based on the industry-endorsed Master Operating Plan (MOP). It will be further enhanced to reflect operating procedures for airmail, best-practices for irregularities and damages, and include freight forwarders’ requirements. ISAGO will now refer to this manual in their CGO parts.

Ground Operations Manual (IGOM)

The IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM) is your current source for the latest industry-approved standards harmonizing ground handling processes and procedures for frontline personnel. It contains 21 topics related to cargo safety working instructions out of 85 core cargo handling topics currently found in the airlines' cargo operations manuals.

ULD Regulations (ULDR)

The IATA ULD Regulations (ULDR) covers both technical and operational standards and regulatory requirements as well as the carrier's requirements applicable to overall ULD operations.

Airport Handling Manual (AHM)

The Airport Handling Manual (AHM) is your definitive source for the latest industry-approved policies and standards covering all facets of safe and efficient airport operations. The manual contains the new Cargo Recommended SLA (AHM 803).

Products & Services

Smart Facility

The Smart Facility project builds a common industry audit program focusing on operational capacity in cargo facilities. It reduces audit complexity, redundancy, and cost for cargo handling facilities and airlines, and creates transparency and visibility for customers.

ONE Source

IATA ONE Source is the industry platform for validated aviation capability and infrastructure information. Find the right business partner for your needs, from specific infrastructure requirements such as temperature-controlled rooms to IATA certifications. The platform makes it easier for you to find the right services where you need them.

Cargo Products

IATA’s close engagement with the air cargo industry stakeholders and every level of the commercial airline community gives us the extraordinary experience to provide effective air cargo solutions (pdf). With IATA’s recognized standards, expertise, insight, and network, you are sure to find the answers you are looking for.

The IATA Cargo Handling consultative Council (ICHC) has been established to bring together members from airlines and cargo handling agents to provide recommendations on cargo operations and handling. The ICHC's objective is to develop best-practice processes and procedures to address all aspect of cargo acceptance and handling.


ICHC's objective is to develop best-practices to address all aspects of cargo acceptance and handling: 

  • Include operations in cargo industry's initiatives, such as the e-Cargo program 
  • Integrate cargo operations in related IATA standards, like the Standard Ground Handling Agreement (SGHA) and the Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • Improve IATA manuals linked to cargo operations, such as the Airport Handling Manual (AHM)
  • Overlook the IATA training courses covering the acceptance, handling and uplifting of air cargo and mail
  • Review the standards on cargo electronic messaging regarding cargo handling activities, such as Cargo-XML
  • On the authoring of the IATA Cargo Handling Manual (ICHM) and endorsement of amendments

Meeting Schedule

Meetings are conducted by regular teleconferences. Face-to-face meetings are held when required.


The ICHC consists of 16 members (8 airline members and 8 ground handling members), each being an expert in cargo operations, Cargo EDI messaging standards and mail operations.


Andre Majeres
Manager, Cargo, Mail & e-Commerce Operations and Standards, IATA