Royal Mail International Airmail

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All mail posted from the Isle of Man is despatched on our dedicated aircraft into Royal Mail’s delivery network. This means fast and reliable delivery to most international destinations.

Royal Mail International Signed For is traceable/you can get compensation in case it goes missing or damaged where as ordinary Airmail isn't. Packaging would probably be no different for either. Use our secure International Tracked and Signed service to send important or valuable letters and parcels overseas. Buy online and print the label at home, or go to a Post Office® International Tracked & Signed Royal Mail.

International Airmail Letters & Packets

Don't forget to affix an Airmail sticker on your envelope or write 'BY AIRMAIL – PAR AVION' in the top left corner of the front of the item.

International letters and large letters

C4+ envelope or under

Max weight: 750g

Max depth: 25mm

For example:

  • Postcards, letters and greeting cards
  • Letters and reports containing unfolded A4 paper
  • Most brochures, magazines, catalogues and company reports

International packets

Maximum weight 2kg. Maximum length must be less than 600mm. Length plus width plus height should not exceed 900mm.

Ideal for sending:

  • Most books
  • Parts and samples
  • Most cylindrical packages*

*Maximum size for cylindrical packages is length plus twice diameter must be less than 1040mm (with the greatest single dimension being less than 900mm).


There is £20 compensation in the event of loss or damage for International Airmail services.

If you are sending something of value please consider the International Tracked and Signedor Parcelforce services which have more compensation options available.


For more information contact our customer services team on 01624 664664. Alternatively, see our price guide below and call into any post office branch to send your mail.

Customs Declarations

From Friday 1st January 2021, the requirement for accurate customs documentation for items containing goods sent to Rest of World addresses will also apply to European destinations and the Channel Islands. When mailing items containing goods to outside of the UK, you will need to accurately complete and sign a customs declaration. A CN22A/B should be used when sending items valued at less than £270, for items with a value higher than this a CN23 should be used.

For more information about customs declaration requirements please visit our dedicatedpage.

Frequently Asked Questions

We do not offer insurance against loss or damage for this service. International Signed For can offer insurance up to £250 depending on the country of destination.

You can use International Signed For to send mail to just about every country in the world. All mail will be recorded at the point of delivery with a signature.

Airmail is not a tracked service. If you use Airsure you can track your item online to its final destination. For some destinations, International Signed For also provides overseas tracking.

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee delivery times. Although your mail will be put on the first available international flight, delivery standards in other countries vary.

Airsure provides priority handling in the UK and abroad. We can put your mail on the first available flight to 35 destinations.


Related Downloads

On July 15 2016 Royal Mail flew a vintage Tiger Moth carrying a symbolic bag of mail from the Farnborough International Airshow to Le Touquet in France as part of Royal Mail’s celebration of 500 years of postal services.

The event commemorates a proving flight that was made by the Aircraft Transport and Travel airline on July 15 1919 and helped to establish a regular airmail service between England and France

The Royal Mail branded Tiger Moth biplane will carry a special mail bag of letters from school children in Farnborough as well as a personal letter from Royal Mail CEO Moya Greene to La Poste CEO Philippe Wahl.

The flight pays tribute to those early pioneers of aviation who braved often difficult conditions to get mail overseas and established it as a key communications channel

Royal Mail International Priority Airmail

Blue airmail etiquettes reading “By Air Mail / Par Avion” were first used in Britain in 1920, following a French decision to apply airmail etiquettes reading “Par Avion” to their airmails

In 1930 the postal service launched blue airmail postboxes that were designed to advertise the new airmail service.

In the mid-thirties postal charges were simplified causing the volume of airmails to leap from 120 million tons to just short of 190 million tons. From a starting point of 10 million airmail letters per year in 1935, numbers doubled annually, reaching over 91 million in 1938.

Today Royal Mail’s Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre handles all international air mail leaving the UK, despatching around 700,000 items a night, using seven miles of conveyor systems. Royal Mail exports to 221 destinations using scheduled flights of 55 airlines from London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports.

Royal Mail International Airmail

Royal Mail is heading to Farnborough International Airshow on July 15 2016 to recreate the first scheduled, international, commercial airmail flight from the UK to Paris. The flight forms part of Royal Mail’s celebration of 500 years of postal services.

The first proving flight for a cross-channel commercial route was made by Lt Henry ‘Jerry’ Shaw, chief pilot of Aircraft Transport and Travel on July 15 1919, just under 100 years ago. Within thirty years of this flight, Britain would become the world’s largest carrier of airmail.

To mark this occasion, a vintage biplane will fly out from Farnborough International Airshow early on the morning of July 15 2016. The aircraft will carry a symbolic bag of mail including letters from schoolchildren from Wavell School in Farnborough as well as a personal letter from Moya Greene, CEO of Royal Mail Group to Philippe Wahl, CEO of La Poste, before returning with another batch of mail in the late afternoon.

Royal Mail International Priority Airmail Tracking

The Tiger Moth will firstly fly to Headcorn in Kent to refuel, before crossing the channel to arrive at the airport in Le Touquet where the mail will be received by a French postal worker from La Poste.

The sortie pays tribute to the UK’s first scheduled, international flight to carry mail for the general public. On July 15 1919, Lt Henry ‘Jerry’ Shaw, chief pilot of Aircraft Transport and Travel, flew the first commercial flight across the English Channel in a de Havilland DH.9 biplane. The aircraft took off at RAF Hendon to land in Paris-Le Bourget in a journey that took 2 hours and 30 minutes and cost £21 per passenger, the equivalent of more than £1,000 today.

International Airmail Postage Rates

This historic flight was the forerunner to the first scheduled airmail service between England and France. On November 10 1919, Aircraft Transport and Travel carried the first international airmail from Hounslow to Paris in an Airco DH4A de Havilland biplane, flight number G-EAHF, with a Royal Mail pennant proudly attached to its rudder.

Royal Mail is recreating this historic flight in another de Havilland biplane, a DH82 Tiger Moth as a tribute to those early pioneers of aviation who braved often difficult conditions to get mail overseas. The pilots were under some pressure to deliver the mail on time given the several variables that could lead to delays including high winds and inclement weather. With unheated, open cockpits and before the age of radio, pilots would rely on compasses for navigation as well as following landmarks such as railway lines to ensure they were on track.

International Airmail Tracking


“Royal Mail owes a great debt of gratitude to those early aviators who often took their lives in their hands to ensure that the mail was delivered safely to overseas destinations,” said Royal Mail CEO Moya Greene. “Today’s flight pays tribute to those pioneers of the skies while underlining the entente cordiale that exists between Royal Mail and its French counterpart La Poste as we continue to oil the wheels of commerce between our two countries. Today airmail is of course very much a core part of Royal Mail’s operation, ensuring we deliver mail as quickly as possible to destinations around the world.”

Farnborough International CEO, Shaun Ormrod said: “We are delighted to be working with Royal Mail and help celebrate 500 years of postal services. It is very fitting that they should choose the Farnborough International Airshow to recreate the first scheduled, international, commercial airmail flight. Farnborough is the birthplace of aviation with a rich history of aviation pioneers and we continue to inform and inspire the engineers and pilots of the future.”

The aircraft, K4259, was originally allocated to the Royal Air Force on November 24, 1934 at Kenley. During the Second World War, RAF pilots learned to fly in the Tiger Moth before progressing to other aircraft such as the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster.

K4259 was issued to 1 Armament Support Unit (ASU) on February 21, 1936 before issue to 24 squadron 11 fighter group on the 5th June 1937. Its next unit was based at Gatwick and it then served with a succession of training units throughout the war such as 10 EFTS and 22 EFTS. It ended its service at 12 MU where it was sold to Mr A. J. Whitmore on the 1st December 1953 and registered as G-ANMO on the 22nd January 1954. Aero Legends Ltd acquired the aircraft in 2014.