The presence of ambient air in liquid-slamming events plays a crucial role in influencing the shape of the liquid surface prior to the impact, and the distribution of loads created upon impact. We study the effect of trapped air on impact loads in a simplified geometry, by slamming a horizontal flat disc onto a stationary water bath at a well-controlled velocity. We show how air trapping influences pressure peaks at different radial locations on the disc, how the pressure impulses are affected and how local pressure impulses differ from those obtained from area-integrated (force) impulses at impact. More specifically, we find that the air layer causes a gradual buildup of the load before the peak value is reached, and show that this buildup follows inertial scaling. Further, the same localised pressure impulse at the disc centre is found to be lower than the corresponding (area-integrated) force impulse on the entire disc. While the (area-integrated) force impulses are close to the classical result of Batchelor (An Introduction to Fluid Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, 1967, § 6.10) and Glasheen & McMahon (Phys. Fluids, vol. 8, issue 8, 1996, pp. 2078–2083), the localised pressure impulses at the disc centre, where the trapped air layer is at its thickest, lie closer to the theoretical estimation by Peters et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 724, 2013, pp. 553–580) for an air-cushioned impact.