On 29 September 2021, IPC participated in the first webinar on airmail hosted by the airline association IATA. The webinar was attended by over 190 attendees from more than 130 companies. It covered topics related to the safety and security of airmail transportation, in a context where new regulations such as the EU’s Import Control System 2 (ICS2), the impact of COVID-19 on capacity availability and new market requirements (tracking, reliability of delivery, etc.) are changing business and operations.

At the webinar, IPC presented a status update on the discussions around the use of the Postal Airwaybill Number (PAWB) to support the optimisation of airmail processes. A panel of experts from the cargo industry and IT system providers engaged in an open and fruitful discussion on the value of the PAWB for the industry. Several participants praised the high level of the discussion and the value it had to trigger more detailed assessments for implementation within their companies.
The PAWB is a critical data element that can be exchanged within existing postal EDI messages and that helps establish synergies between postal and cargo systems. The use of such elements provides posts and airlines with the ability to enhance their tracking, comply with security advance information provision requirements and increase overall capacity availability for airmail on aircrafts.

The upcoming regulatory requirements for the filing of Advanced Electronic Data (EAD) by airlines as of March 2023 are one of the main drivers of the push from posts and airlines to widely implement the use of the PAWB in EDI messages by that date.

IPC driving use of PAWB

IPC’s Engage initiative identified the potential value of the use of the PAWB from the early days of its activity and promoted the upgrade of the corresponding UPU EDI standards already in 2008. Several subgroups of Engage, led by IPC in coordination with IATA, have been discussing and designing the to-be standard processes to support the use and processing of the PAWB number by all the involved systems


IPC and IATA have been long-standing partners in the development and expansion of safe, secure, accessible and high-quality airmail and air cargo services to help their respective members provide quality solutions aligned to consumer needs. Through the Engage initiative, the organisations work together on several specific areas, including improving the security, handover, carriage, delivery and settlement of airmail. They also focus on developing and maintaining industry standards and procedures as well as services and solutions for both physical flows and electronic data interchange relating to airmail.