The increased use of EDI (electronic data interchange) technology supports the integration of the postal and airline industries, with the objective of providing increased visibility and automation to international mail throughout its lifecycle, and creating paperfree business processes.

This will drive a substantial improvement producing efficiencies and cost savings compared to historical international paper-based mail handling, transport, and accounting processes.

How does it work?

Postal traffic has changed a lot, with B2C and B2B traffic comprising well over 85% of total volumes. Although letter mail volumes continue to decline, the growth of e-commerce is driving the growth of postal package and parcel traffic with increased traffic capability moving from heavier loads to more volumetric.

Increased use of EDI (electronic data interchange) technology supports the integration of the postal and airline industries.

Total cross-border postal traffic worldwide is estimated to be around 1bn kg per year. Of that total, packages make up 30% and parcels 55%, having doubled in the past ten years. Much of that international traffic is conveyed by commercial airlines.

Posts need to take advantage of these trends to expand their role as door-to-door fulfilment providers in every country around the world. Postal volume increases translate to more business opportunities for qualified airlines.


  • Posts and airlines understand that it is in the interest of both industries to integrate processes and systems to be more competitive. The exchange of standard EDI messages is one of the key tools to achieve this.
  • A relatively small cost to set up EDI yields a very fast return on investment.

End-to-end visibility

Posts and airlines need to adapt their processes to meet growing customer requirements for day certain delivery if they want to take part in the revenue growth potential offered by increasing e-commerce.

Posts must compete in the market to provide a low-cost, reliable service with tracking options that e-commerce customers demand.

Posts and airlines alike need real-time information to manage operations and meet quality targets, comply with security declaration requirements, improve efficiency, reduce costs, and determine payments to each other.

The exchange of EDI is a condition to help meet customer requirements, providing near-real-time tracking of mail, package and parcels in transport. It is also an opportunity to improve business processes, resulting in reduced costs and improved quality of service.

A growing group of leading stakeholders

Posts and airlines handling more than half of the international postal traffic are already exchanging the Post–Airline EDI messages, and more and more are using the latest standards. It is vital to participate in order to gain the benefits of potential business growth. An increasing number of posts are making EDI exchange a condition to carry mail.