The 2018 Air Cargo Excellence Survey was conducted in November and December 2017. The surveys were completed by Air Cargo World subscribers and various cargo airline and airport constituents located throughout the world.

Airlines were rated by freight forwarders; airports were rated by airline employees, freight forwarders, cargo agents, and 3PLs. The purpose of having two survey groups is to ensure the integrity of having actual customers rate their service providers, rather than opening up the survey to the general audience.

Air carriers were rated by freight forwarders on:

Customer Service: Quality of customer service; tracking and tracing of shipments; electronic air waybill (e-AWB) capabilities

Performance: Timeliness of delivery; space availability; availability of main-deck capacity

Value: Competitiveness of rates; availability and quality of special services; route network


Airports were rated by freight forwarders, cargo agents, and third-party logistics providers on:

Performance: Quality of customer service; handling of exceptions

Value: Competitiveness of rates and charges; customs clearance efficiency

Facilities: Airside capacity; apron capacity and aircraft parking; warehousing; operational restrictions; ground connectivity


Each survey group was sent an email notification containing a summary overview of the survey, its purpose, and a link to access the survey online. Two follow-up emails were sent as reminders to those who had not completed the survey.

The survey asked participants to rate the airline(s) and/or airport(s) with which they had conducted business in the prior 12 months. Using a scale of 1 to 5 – with 5 being the highest – respondents were asked to rate their airlines and airports on the three categories noted above.

The airlines and airports were grouped by annual freight tonnes carried, according to IATA and other industry data; airports were additionally grouped by regional location. These groupings were done within the survey analytic structure and were unknown to survey respondents. The purpose in grouping the airlines and airports is to provide an equitable rating system in establishing the surveys’ results.

The average rating for each measurement is calculated within each group, and that average is indexed to a value of 100. Ratings for airlines and airports are presented as an Indexed Score, relative to the average, to allow for easy comparisons. Scores greater than 100 represent an above-average performance. Scores of 100 represent exactly average performance. Scores less than 100 represent below-average performance.

In order to qualify as finalists, air carriers and airports must meet a minimum threshold of responses to ensure a statistically valid sample size. Among the finalists, the top scorers received Air Cargo Excellence Awards.

Among air carriers, Diamond, Platinum, and Gold status was awarded to the top three performers – based on a composite score of Customer Service, Performance, and Value – in each of two tonnage categories.

Among airports, Diamond, Platinum, and Gold status was awarded to the top three performers – based on a composite score of Performance, Value, and Facilities – in each of three tonnage categories. ACE Awards were also presented to the highest scoring airport in each of five regions.

Included in this year’s awards is the Specialty Cargo award, presented to the highest scoring air carrier and airport for their capabilities in shipping perishables, dangerous goods, pharma, animals, and oddly shaped cargo.

To find out more about the Data Service, or to participate in future Air Cargo Excellence surveys, please contact Alan Hedge at 206-801-8474 or