Air Cargo: The List of Prohibited Items

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Many items are considered prohibited items on airplanes. Some are restricted, and others can be moved under special conditions and subject to specific regulations. In this blog post, we will look at the prohibited items from being shipped by air, why they are forbidden, and the consequences of shipping them. To avoid putting yourself or others at risk, it is crucial to be aware of these prohibited items.

Prohibited Items

Some items are prohibited from being shipped via air cargo. These items are generally dangerous or considered hazardous to both people and aircraft. Some common reasons include: the item is considered dangerous, the item is perishable, or the item is illegal. Items considered dangerous might be prohibited because they could risk the safety of the people transporting them or those who come into contact with them. Perishable items may be restricted because they could spoil or go bad during transport. Illegal items may be prohibited because transporting them is against the law.

The list of prohibited items can be found on the websites of most major airlines. Some of the more common items that are prohibited include:

Flammable Liquids and Solids

Flammable liquids and solids are some of the most common prohibited items shipped by air. They are classified as such because they are quickly ignited and can pose a severe fire hazard. Some examples of flammable liquids and solids include gasoline, kerosene, propane, petrol, diesel, crude oil, and fireworks. These items must be appropriately labeled and packaged when being shipped by air.

Radioactive Materials

Both national and international laws regulate radioactive materials. These materials are classified as prohibited items because they emit radiation that can be harmful to humans and the environment. Some examples of radioactive materials include uranium, plutonium, and radium.

Radioactive materials are generally shipped under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material. These materials must be properly packaged, labeled, and transported to ensure safety. Three types of packaging can be used for radioactive materials: Type A, Type B, and Type C. Type A packaging is the strongest and most secure, while Type C packaging is the least safe. Depending on the type and amount of radioactive material being shipped, one of these three packaging types must be used.

Corrosive Materials

Corrosive materials can pose a severe risk to health and safety. These materials are dangerous because they can cause burns or damage the skin, eyes, or respiratory system. Some examples of corrosive materials include acids, alkalis, and mercury. Corrosive materials can cause severe damage to people and property if not handled properly, so it is essential to follow all safety protocols when shipping these materials.

Poisonous and Infectious Substances

Poisonous and infectious substances are other types of prohibited items. These materials can severely threaten the health and safety of people and the environment. They can cause death or severe illness if inhaled, ingested, or come into contact with the skin. Some examples of poisonous and infectious substances include bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Each of these can pose a severe threat to the health and safety of people and the environment.

Compressed Gases

There are many dangers associated with compressed gases in air shipping. Compressed gases are very flammable and can explode if not handled correctly. If a compressed gas container is damaged, it can leak and cause the contents to catch fire or explode. In addition, compressed gases can leak out of containers and build up in the atmosphere, making breathing difficult. These materials are dangerous because they are under high pressure and can be explosive if released. Some examples of compressed gases include oxygen, nitrogen, and methane.

Magnetized Materials

Many potential hazards can occur when transporting magnetized materials by air. If the magnets are not adequately secured, they can become loose and fall off the plane, posing a severe safety hazard to both the plane and the ground. They can interfere with the operation of aircraft and navigation equipment. Magnetized materials include magnets, magnetized metals, and magnetized liquids. Magnetized materials should be stored in a safe place where they will not become magnetized themselves and attract other materials to them.

Strong Acids

Strong acids provide numerous risks while being transported by air as cargo. If these acids were to leak, they could cause severe damage to the environment and human health. Strong acids can cause burns, and if inhaled, they can damage the lungs. In addition, strong acids can corrode metal, which could lead to structural damage to the aircraft. Hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, and nitric acid are some examples of strong acids.

Several measures can be taken to prevent strong acids from leaking during air shipping. First, it is important to use containers made from materials that can withstand the acids. Second, the containers should be adequately sealed to prevent any leakage. Finally, it is essential to label the containers, so everyone handling the cargo knows what is inside. Strong acids are dangerous materials, and it is vital to take precautions to prevent them from leaking during air shipping. By using proper containers and labeling the containers clearly, we can help to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Firearms and Ammunition

There are many considerations when shipping firearms and ammunition via cargo air. The type of aircraft, the amount of ammunition, the packaging and labeling requirements, and the destination country’s regulations all play a role in ensuring a safe and compliant shipment. When shipping firearms, it is vital to use an aircraft specifically designed to transport cargo. The plane must have a fire suppression system to extinguish a fire if ammunition is involved. The packaging must be prepared to protect the firearms and ammunition from damage during transport and be labeled correctly to ensure that the proper authorities know the shipment’s contents.

The destination country will have regulations regarding the import of firearms and ammunition. It is vital to be familiar with these regulations before shipping, as failure to comply can result in severe penalties. In most cases, a license or permit will be required to import firearms and ammunition into the country. With proper planning and attention to detail, shipping firearms and ammunition via cargo air can be safe and compliant.

Other Prohibited Items

Several other items are prohibited from being shipped by air cargo, even if they are not classified as dangerous goods. These items include live animals, human remains, and hazardous waste. Several items are restricted in the amount that can be shipped at one time, such as alcohol and tobacco products.

When performing Safety Risk Management (SRM) on cargo operations, there are many areas to consider, including but not limited to:

Cargo supply chain

Cargo acceptance

Inherent hazardous properties of the items carried

Cargo loading (both ground and air cargo operations)

Training and procedural gaps


Items considered dangerous goods are heavily regulated and must be appropriately labeled and packaged before they can be shipped by air. Failure to do so could result in severe injury or even death. Additionally, many of these items are highly dangerous and can cause severe damage to the airplane or the people on board. For this reason, it is crucial to be aware of the restrictions on what can be shipped via cargo airplane and to take care when shipping any prohibited items.

How to Find Out If an Item Is Prohibited or Restricted?

There are many ways to determine if an item is on the list of prohibited items. Some common methods include: asking the transportation company, checking the website of the transportation company, or checking with the government agency that regulates the transportation company. The best way to find out about prohibited items is to ask the transportation company. The transportation company can tell you if the item is allowed on their transportation method. You can check their website if you cannot get in touch with the transportation company. If you cannot find the information you are looking for on the website, you can check with the government agency that regulates the transportation company.

Penalties for Transporting Prohibited Items

Penalties for transporting prohibited items can vary depending on the item and the transportation company. Some transportation companies may only charge a fee if transported, while others may confiscate the item or impose a fine. The penalties for transporting an illegal item can be much more severe, including jail time. It is essential to check with the transportation company and the government agency regulating the transportation company to determine the penalties for transporting prohibited items.


Many items are prohibited from being shipped by air cargo. These items are generally dangerous or considered hazardous to both people and aircraft. Shipping these items by air cargo can result in severe injury or even death. It is essential to be aware of the restrictions on what can be sent by air cargo and to take care when shipping any prohibited items.

Contact us if you’re unsure whether or not your product is on the prohibited items list and would like instructions on how and when to ship it; DFreight can help you determine the best way to ship your items so that they arrive safely and on time.

How do I know if an item is on the air cargo prohibited list?

Each airline has its list of prohibited air cargo items. You will need to contact the airline to check if an item is on the list.

What are the common categories of prohibited items?

Common categories of prohibited items include dangerous items, which can cause delays or create safety concerns.

What are the consequences of transporting a prohibited item?

If an item is transported on an aircraft that is prohibited, the air carrier may refuse to transport the item, and the item may be confiscated by law enforcement. Additionally, the air carrier may impose criminal penalties on the individual who transported the prohibited item.

Are there any restrictions on the packaging of prohibited items?

Yes. In shipping from Italy to UAE process prohibited items must be securely packaged and labeled in accordance with the UAE’s import regulations to ensure that they are not accidentally mishandled or misidentified. Additionally, any items containing hazardous materials must be clearly labeled with the appropriate warnings.

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