MAWB – issued by carrier authority - International air waybills that contain consolidated cargo are called master air waybills (MAWB)

HAWB – issued by freight forwarder/ IATA cargo agent - MAWBs have additional papers called house air waybills (HAWB). Each HAWB contains information of each individual shipment (consignee, contents, etc.) within the consolidation.

There can be multiple HAWB under one MAWB depending on number of shipments

International AWBs that are not consolidated (only one shipment in one bill) are called simple AWBs.


The Air Waybill (AWB) is the most important document issued by a carrier either directly or through its authorized agent.

It is a non-negotiable transport document. It covers the transport of cargo from airport to airport. By accepting a shipment an IATA cargo agent is acting on behalf of the carrier whose air waybill is issued.


The AWB number has 11 digits and 3 parts.

The first 3 digits are the Airline Prefix

The next 7 digits is the Serial Number of the AWB

The last digit is the Check digit

The check digit is derived by dividing the 7 digits Serial Number by 7. The remainder determines the Check Digit. Example: Serial Number 8114074 divided by 7 is 1159153 remainder 3. Therefore the Serial Number + Check Digit is 81140743

Air waybills are issued in sets of different colors. The first three copies are classified as originals. The first original, blue in color, is the shipper’s copy. The second, colored blue, is retained by the issuing carrier. The third, colored orange, is the consignee’s copy. A yellow copy acts as the delivery receipt or proof of delivery*. The other copies are all white.



Airline pallets

Airline containers
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