ULD info

Here you can find all the information you'll need about Unit Load Devices.
Like what a ULD is, how you can identify a ULD and what ULD will fit best in each aircraft to maximize the aircraft's cargo space. We even added a ULD-dictionary!

What's a ULD

A Unit Load Device (ULD) is used to transport cargo by aeroplane. ULDs can convey any type of cargo, from passenger suitcases and perishable goods to horses and Formula-1 cars. ULDs are divided into two main categories: aircraft containers and aircraft pallet/net combinations.

ULD Terminology

Terms and definitions which are commonly used in the ULD industry and on the VRR website.  

Certified ULDs

Unit Load Devices (ULDs) are nearly always required to be approved for use, that is to say, certified for continued airworthiness by the relevant Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). That’s because, just like any other aircraft component, ULDs have to be robust enough to cope with all likely and extreme circumstances during flight (e.g. when the aircraft accelerates and decelerates, banks, climbs and descends or hits air pockets or turbulence). Under such severe circumstances, a certified ULD ensures the cargo does not move around the hold, endangering the aircraft’s structure and systems, because it is locked to the hold’s floor.

Identifying a Unit Load Device (ULD)

Each Aircraft Unit Load Device (ULD) is identified by its ULD code. This code is a unique combination of letters and numbers, starting with a three-letter prefix that indentifies the type of ULD. This prefix is followed by a unique 4 or 5-digit serial number to distinguish it from others of the same type. The last two or three characters designate the owner of the ULD (e.g. the airline).

Maximising an aircraft’s cargo space

When designing an Aircraft Unit Load Device (ULD), careful thought is given to making the most of the aircraft’s cargo space. Unfortunately, aircraft holds come in many shapes and sizes, which means that ULD’s also have to come in many shapes and sizes.

Conversion table: ATA / IATA Designation

Each Aircraft Unit Load Device (ULD) is identified by its ULD code. This code is a unique combination of letters and numbers. The codes such as LD2, LD3, LD9, M1 etc. were developed under ATA many years back, while the codes such as AKE, AAP, AMA, RKN, VGA are part of the IATA ULD identification system. In general the use of IATA Identification system codes is preferable.