ULD info

Here you can find all the information you'll need about Unit Load Devices.
Like the meaning of 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

ULD Meaning

A Unit Load Device (ULD)is used to transport cargo by aeroplane. This process is also known as ULD air freight. 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.

The difference between a container and a pallet

Both pallets and containers allow a large quantity of cargo to be bundled into a single unit, which can be used on wide-body aircraft and certain narrow-body aircraft.

Cargo on pallets are secured by a net, which is attached to the pallet’s rim. Containers, also known as cans and pods, are typically lightweight structures comprising a base, a frame with side and roof panels, and a fabric or solid door. There are many different types of containers. Some are collapsible, some are insulated, others are ventilated or refrigerated and so on.

ULD Categories

At VRR, we love to experiment and to challenge the status quo. That’s because we want to make unique products that help overcome real world challenges in the air freight industry. Our ambition to be curious, courageous and uncompromising has led to six distinct families of customised cargo solutions:

ULD Terminology

Need some help figuring out all the terms and definitions which are commonly used in the ULD industry and on the VRR website? We've put the most common ones in a list. Like ULD, Airworthy, Certification, CLS and STC. Hope it helps!

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).

How to maximize 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. How can you know which ULD will fit your aircraft? We'll first explain the difference in ULD's with optimal fit, non-optimal fit and no fit and then we'll show you our very handy compatibility tool. 

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. Read on to check out our conversion table to convert an ATA ID-code into an IATA code.