Airforwarders Association Urges FAA to Allow Freight in Passenger Cabins
The need for action is both urgent and real
Several U.S.-based passenger airlines have expressed interest in temporarily converting their aircraft for all-cargo service beyond the already existing belly capacity by utilizing the available, unused space in the passenger cabin on the main deck. This alternative use could take multiple forms based on cabin configuration ranging from leaving seats in place to stripping seats out altogether. Foreign carriers have already successfully demonstrated the range of options available and the evidence of their work exists in news reports and on social media.
During normal times, passenger airlines carry in their bellies the largest percentage of the world's air cargo by weight and volume. Today, though, many of those aircraft are now parked. While demand is down in many markets, vital medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and technical instruments are among the commodities that are still flying and requiring urgent airfreight transportation.
The Airforwarders Association recognizes that transporting freight in cabins configured for people and not pallets is a legitimate safety concern to crew, aircraft and those on the ground when the plane is airborne. We urge the Federal Aviation Administration to work to provide the necessary safety reviews and operational guidance for our nation's airlines as quickly as possible. The necessity for main deck freight capacity on passenger planes is both urgent and real.
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