By now, after hundreds of major known exploits, no one doubts that the aviation sector is driven and fuelled by courage and tenacity. Pilots, engineers, entrepreneurs… all enterprising people with an infinite capacity to never give in when faced with difficulties, or even at times the impossible. We could not imagine the pioneering Wright brothers saying:
Hey Wilbur, this flying stuff is really complicated - why don't we just go home and have a sarsaparilla?
Sure thing, Orville. Shall we go by bike?
Why not, Wilbur?
We owe the Wright brothers a debt of gratitude for their untiring perseverance, but if there is one deed that marked a before and after in the whole airfreight sector it was the one featuring the legendary Charles Lindbergh.
In the year 1927, at the helm of his plane Spirit of St Louis, he became the first pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean, linking up the American and European continents in a non-stop solo flight.
Public opinion at the time regarded this as a heroic act, brimming with bravery. But the reality is that what Lindbergh achieved had a much larger global reach. The two continents with the most trade and social relations were united by the quickest and most direct means known. Thereafter, it would be much easier for goods and people to reach destinations that would previously have taken endless and complicated journeys.
Nowadays this idea of leadership continues to inspire the aviation sector. Although there are fewer airborne challenges left to be tackled, innovation is now focused on technological development, as in the case of XML Cargo.
This new electronic communication system is an initiative developed by IATA (International Air Transport Association), designed to replace paper in air freight cargo operations. Through electronic data interchange technology, a new electronic document designated e-Air Waybill has been developed.
This e-document provides airlines, freight forwarders and customs authorities with a universal benchmark for the automatic electronic exchange of standardized freight documents, at any airport worldwide operating under the new e-freight system.
The IT engineers working to develop this initiative are not crossing the freezing Atlantic at the controls of experimental aircraft, but they do keep this technological leadership alive by continuing to help break down barriers and bring people together. The XML Cargo system, with its international standardization capacity and the possibility of exchanging electronic data in real-time, constitutes a revolution in the way airfreight information is processed.