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A guide to the most selected aircraft for time-critical charter flights

Air Partner - 03 Sep 2018

Whilst our experienced Freight Charter Sales Managers will advise you on the right aircraft for your time-critical consignments, we have noticed that the following aircraft are the ones most frequently booked by our clients.

Ranging from turbo prop to heavy jets, they all have their different benefits. Whether your cargo needs to be delivered to any main hub or a remote location, these charter aircraft are the most popular choice.

We see a diverse range of requirements that come to us on a daily basis for time critical consignments. With this, we find that aircraft may vary depending on requirements, but here is a selection of the most common charter aircraft used for time critical requests as we have seen.


Beech Kingair 200 specs

Beech King Air 200

Cargo type: small boxes only
Range: 2,954 km
Max. volume (CBM): 5
Max. payload (t): 1.2
Door w x h (cm): 132 x 117
Cargo hold l x w x h (cm): 500 x 124 x 138

The Beech King Air 200 is a fast and reliable smaller turbo prop. It is ideal if you have to transport small boxes or items short distances. It is spacious and a reliable aircraft for virtually any commercial mission and small time-critical cargo shipments. There are thousands of King Airs globally operating offering safety and reliability, particularly from airports with no scheduled traffic. It is not as fast as smaller jets but is often a more cost effective solution.

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 Cessna Citation 2 specs

Cessna Citation Jet 2

Cargo type: small boxes only
Range: 3,223 km
Max. volume (CBM): n/a
Max. payload (t): n/a
Door w x h (cm): 50 x 118
Cargo hold l x w x h (cm): 200 x 100 x 120

The Cessna Citation 2 is mainly a passenger jet but suitable for the transportation of small boxes, small parts or any paperwork. It is faster than a turbo prop aircraft but usually can sometimes be more expensive. It has a range of 3,223 km and is therefore ideal for medium haul distances. As it is able to use the shortest of runways, it is the best choice for those small, time critical consignments to remote locations with smaller airports. The essence of the Citation Jet 2 is summed up in simplicity, economy and performance and it is excellent in terms of fuel efficiency. 

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 Metro 3 specs

Metro 3

Cargo type: Most common used for palletised cargo
Range: 1,600 km
Max. volume (CBM): 13
Max. payload (t): 2.1
Door w x h (cm): 133 x 130 
Cargo hold l x w x h (cm): 810 x 115 x 130

The Metro 3 is a very economic aircraft and ideal for time sensitive, short haul flights. The large cargo door allows loading of oversized freight and it has one of the best payload capacities in its category. It is most commonly used for time sensitive euro pallet transport.

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 SAAB 340 specs

Saab 340

Cargo type: Larger amount of palletised cargo
Range: 1,730 km
Max. volume (CBM): 35.8
Max. payload (t): 3.85
Door w x h (cm): 135 x 130
Cargo hold l x w x h (cm): 1108 x 170 x 160

The Saab 340 is ideal for time-critical cargo, with larger europallets on short and medium haul distances depending on the cargo weight. It has powerful twin turbo prop engines and good payload capacity. This aircraft is a very common choice due to its good availability and ease to load.

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AN26 specs


Cargo type: Heavy, long or high pieces
Range: 900 km
Max. volume (CBM): 45
Max. payload (t): 6.5
Door w x h (cm): 230 x 170
Cargo hold l x w x h (cm): 1150 x 220 x 175

The Antonov AN-26 is an ex-military aircraft which is similar to the Fokker 27 in capacity and performance but  less expensive to charter. It is best suitable for heavier cargo, bulk loading, remote destinations with short runways and for ad-hoc flights. The AN-26 is a ramp-loading aircraft with a cabin large enough to load a car. Russian operated models have limited traffic rights within Europe due to noise levels, whereas European operated models are unrestricted. 

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AN12 specs


Cargo type: Heavy, high and large volume
Range: 3,600 km
Max. volume (CBM): 90
Max. payload (t): 18
Door w x h (cm): 300 x 250
Cargo hold l x w x h (cm): 1382 x 295 x 260

The Antonov AN-12 is a fast mid-range cargo aircraft with a maximum load of 18t.

A four-engine turboprop built in the Soviet Union and a very common choice for time-critical cargo, especially heavier consignments as it is flexible for loading. It can carry many types of cargo, including outsized cargo. It is easy to load using the built-in loading system. It is popular in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. However, Russian operated models have limited traffic rights within Europe.

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