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AOG Shipping: Solutions for Aviation Logistics 

April 8, 2022
 By Jacob Lee
AOG Shipping: Solutions for Aviation Logistics 
Last Modified: June 2, 2023
When a plane becomes grounded, commercial airliners utilize AOG shipping to transport new parts. We’ll explain the details of this service and why it's so useful.

AOG Shipping is a freight service that is almost exclusively used by airline companies. An aircraft that is grounded will require new parts to function again. Therefore, airline companies need a specialized shipping solution that will transport new parts.

AOG shipping (aircraft on ground shipping) is used by airlines and other aircraft operators to transport aircraft equipment in a timely manner and restore operational capability. This shipping service is also extremely fast, which means you can get your plane repaired and back into the air quickly. 

Down below, we’ll give you all the information you need to know about AOG shipping and how you can benefit from it. 

What Is AOG Shipping?

Airliners have to take the safety of their passengers seriously. In doing so they require their planes to go under routine inspection. If they discover a plane can’t fly during one of the inspections, it will have to be grounded until the issues are resolved.

This is where AOG transport comes into play. Aircraft on ground shipping is a service that specializes in the transportation of aircraft parts. With this freight service at their disposal, airline companies can order new parts to the airport where their grounded plane is at.

How Often Do AOG Shipments Occur?

Planes can break down and suffer technical issues at any given time. Because of the unexpected nature of plane malfunctions, AOG shipments can occur just as often. That is why many freight companies that provide AOG logistic services are available 24/7. 

While planes can break down unexpectedly, malfunctions usually happen more during the summer when travel increases. This results in a higher volume of AOG shipments during this time as well. 

How are Airlines Affected By AOG?

The last thing an airline company wants is for one of its planes to be grounded. That’s because a grounded aircraft can have a variety of negative effects on the airline’s business.  

Some of these negative effects include:

  • Loss of revenue
  • Compensation of passengers
  • Fees to fix aircraft

We’ll discuss each of these factors that negatively affect the business operations of airliners to show why AOG shipping is so important.

Loss of Revenue

One or more planes that are out of commission can have a dire impact on an airline’s ability to offer flights to certain destinations. As a result, they won’t be able to sell tickets to potential passengers that want to travel to those destinations since they won’t have a plane to get them there. Therefore, future flights will have to be canceled until the airliner has repaired its aircraft and is back up to full strength. 

Compensations Of Passengers

Any passengers that were booked for a flight on the grounded plane are likely to be upset. The best way to fix the problem is to compensate the passengers for their troubles. This can be done with checks refunding them the money or through the use of ticket vouchers. Unfortunately, doing so will also cost the airliner money. 

Fees To Fix Aircraft

Fixing the aircraft will also cost airliners money. Airplanes and the equipment that allow them to operate are not cheap. To get a plane fixed, the right people with the right skills have to be hired to get the job done. Services like that aren’t going to come cheap, which costs the airliner further expenses. 

Speed is a point of emphasis for AOG shipments because of the amount of money that airliners can lose when they have a plane out of commission with no backup available. Another scenario when an AOG shipment might be expedited is when an airliner requires an engine. Passengers who booked a flight on the plane currently grounded will have to be reimbursed and airport storage fees for the grounded plane will have to be paid. 

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How Fast Is AOG Transport?

An AOG shipment can usually be assembled only a few hours after the order has been commissioned. However, arrival times can vary based on the distance the freight has to travel, weather and traffic. 

The time it takes for an aircraft on ground shipment to arrive is relative to the distance it must travel after the parts are picked up. For example, an AOG shipment that needs to travel only 500 miles could arrive at its destination in one day whereas a 1500-mile journey would likely take three days to arrive. 

AOG logistics requires an extensive amount of planning. An AOG shipment requires finding a suitable route and finding an available truck and a trailer to transport the parts. Additionally, many aircraft on ground shipments will be considered an oversized load. Therefore, shippers will need to abide by the correct heavy haul shipping regulations

An airplane about to take off before sunset

Planning An AOG Freight Shipment

The route of an AOG shipment must be planned before the freight can be transported. AOG freight is so large that it’ll often be considered an oversized load. Shipments of oversized loads such as AOG cargo will need to travel down a special route to get to their destination. 

Routes for certain AOG shipments cannot have:

  • Bridges with low clearance
  • Tunnels with low clearance
  • Winding roads
  • Roads with sharp turns

Roads that have these characteristics need to be avoided because of the dangers they can pose. Bridges and tunnels with low clearance can be obstructions for extremely tall pieces of AOG freight. 

Sharp turns and winding roads can throw the balance of the load off and potentially cause the truck transporting the oversized freight to tumble over. These factors are why carriers have to take the time to find a route that’s safe enough for AOG cargo to travel. 

Holidays are another factor that affects the planning of a route. Certain states restrict the transportation of oversize freight during certain holidays. Our article on holiday restrictions for oversize loads will provide you with more information.

An AOG shipment of landing gear waiting to be installed

How Is Aircraft Equipment Transported Using Aircraft on Ground Shipping?

Due to the fragility, size and essential functions of airplane equipment, transportation procedures must be carried out with the utmost care. Airplanes have five main sections that allow them to function and when an airliner needs new parts for a grounded aircraft, it’s typically for one or more of these sections. The sections are: 

  • Fuselage
  • Wings
  • Cockpit
  • Engine
  • Tail
  • Landing gear

Typically, aircraft equipment is transported using 53-foot step deck flatbed trailers. These flatbed trailers are referred to as step decks because the deck drops below the rear and front axles. 

In addition to step decks, other flatbed trailers used to transport step deck trailers include:

  • Standard flatbed trailers
  • Lowboy trailers

The wings, cockpit and engines of airplanes require specialized planning in order to be successfully transported. This is because these parts of the airplane are awkwardly shaped. 

Check our article on oversized cargo transportation for basic information on how AOG freight and other types of large cargo is transported. 


Many commercial airplanes have wings that exceed 100 feet in length. Oftentimes, a self-steering car trailer will have to be used for a semi-truck to be able to haul freight this large. 

Self-steering car trailers are pretty similar to regular trailers except that the rear axles of the trailer have a cab with a steering wheel. The cab is used to help keep the long trailer balanced as the truck driver in the semi pulling the load makes turns. Additionally, an oversize escort vehicle accompanies the shipment.

Besides being an essential component for flight, airplane wings require special considerations when they’re shipped due to their various components. These components include:

  • Ailerons
  • Flaps
  • Winglet
  • Slats
  • Spoilers

If damage occurs to any of these components, the entirety of the wing could be compromised which would make it impossible to work. 


The cockpit contains many different devices and features that allow the pilots to operate the plane successfully. Six different subsections make up the entirety of the cockpit. These sections are:

  • Instrument panel
  • Flight controls
  • Pilot seats
  • Rudder pedals
  • Overhead panel
  • Side consoles 

All of these subsections make planning and executing an aircraft-on-ground cockpit shipment difficult – but not impossible. When an entire cockpit is transported, it travels within the confines of a crate the same way small airplane wings are. 

The crate has to be designed to accommodate the dimensions of the cockpit as best as possible. Doing so will prevent the cockpit from moving around too much while it’s in transit. 

Since cockpits are fairly large, the crate that holds them will be slightly larger. Hauling an AOG shipment of this size will also require the use of a lowboy or step deck trailer. The crate holding the cockpit will then be secured with a load belt. 

If it’s a smaller subsection of the cockpit that needs replacing, then these extreme measures won’t have to be taken. Shipping pilot seats or rudder pedals can be done utilizing a standard LTL shipment. 


Special considerations also have to be taken into account when transporting airplane engines. Most airplanes use what are called turbofan engines which require special protection when they’re transported because of how they’re calibrated. 

Any damage or even the slightest movement can offset the calibrations in these engines. Therefore, most trailers that are used to transport airplane engines have air ride suspensions. This type of suspension is much better at absorbing shockwaves when the trailer goes over bumps and potholes in the road. 

Flatbeds transporting airplane engines will also have cradles mounted onto their deck. The engine is placed and secured into these cradles which assist in absorbing shock. Lastly, the airplane engine is covered by a tarp to protect it from the weather and the elements.

Look into our article on wide load vs oversized load to determine what category your shipment falls under. 

Multiple airplanes driving down a runway

What To Expect When Shipping AOG Cargo

There are many factors of AOG transport that can be very inconvenient for the airliners when they use this service. It’s important to know what to expect so that there is no surprise or disappointment when they need aircraft parts transported to them quickly.

Some factors that airliners should be prepared for when using AOG shipping include:

  • The need for equipment, manpower and space
  • Delays
  • How much the shipment will cost 
  • Related information required by the carrier transporting the AOG parts

While these factors can put a damper on AOG shipping, this service is still reliable when a grounded aircraft desperately needs parts. 

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Equipment, Manpower and Space

Receiving an AOG shipment requires the right equipment and enough space. Unsurprisingly, aircraft parts are extremely large and heavy which calls for equipment strong enough to lift it. Cranes are the best option to go with when you need to unload aircraft from the trailer they arrive on. Once on the ground, aircraft parts can be moved with the use of forklifts.

Unloading a critical shipment of aircraft parts requires space for the parts to be unloaded from the trailer and placed somewhere safe. The equipment being used to unload the shipment also needs plenty of room to operate without them being in the way of other workers or other equipment. 

Getting parts delivered straight to the airport where the grounded plane is can be the best option. Airports have plenty of space where equipment used for unloading can pull in without being in the way of flights coming and going. 

Most importantly, it’s important to have the manpower to perform all of the various functions necessary to unload AOG freight. 


Unfortunately, freight shipping delays are always a possibility when transporting freight and aircraft on ground shipments are no different. If one occurs, the receiver of the shipment will need to adjust accordingly. 

That means if the receiver is hiring a third party to unload their shipment for them on the original delivery date, they will have to hire the third party to return when a new arrival date is determined. 

How Much Will An AOG Shipment Cost?

The price of an AOG shipment is unique to each case. Most oversized loads have a shipping rate of $2 to $10 per mile. The table below shows how much-oversized loads will cost across the eight shipping lanes.

Shipping ZoneDistanceCost
Zone 10-50 miles$100-$500
Zone 251-100 miles$102-$1,000
Zone 3151-300 miles$302-$3,000
Zone 4301-600 miles$602-$6,000
Zone 5601-1,000 miles$1,202-$10,000
Zone 61,001-1,400 miles$2,000-$14,000
Zone 71,401-1,800 miles$2,802-$18,000
Zone 81,801 miles or more$18,010

Although these are the estimates for oversize loads across shipping lanes, numerous other factors contribute to the overall price of an AOG shipment.

 Factors such as these can impact how much a shipment will ultimately be:

  • Size
  • State Permits
  • Distance
  • Overdimensional

In addition to the factors above, receivers will also have to spend additional money if they choose to hire a third party to unload their freight for them. Because of all of these factors, giving even an estimate of how much your AOG shipment is impossible.

What Information a Carrier Will Need to Transport Your Aircraft Freight

Carriers will require a good amount of information to transport your AOG shipment. This information will not only affect how much you will be charged for your shipment but will also help the carrier determine how to plan your shipment. 

Below is the information that carriers will need when a customer hires them to transport their oversized freight. 

  • Pickup and drop off information
  • What parts are being shipped
  • How many parts are being shipped
  • Weight and dimensions of the parts
  • Date for when the shipment needs are delivered

Once this information has been provided, carriers will be able to start preparing the shipment. 

Check out our article on transporting construction equipment if you need to move this type of freight. 

Use Heavy Haul & Oversize for All Of Your AOG Needs

Heavy Haul & Oversize can find a carrier to perform AOG shipping for you. We have a network of small carriers throughout the U.S. that can transport AOG and a variety of other oversized freight. With their years of experience, we guarantee that our carriers will handle your AOG shipment with the care it deserves. 

Our carriers can perform these services using the following types of trailers:

  • Standard flatbed
  • Removable gooseneck (RGN)
  • Lowboy
  • Double drop deck

Fill out your quote to get started or call our team at (855) 490-2433 if you have any questions or concerns. 

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