The trade group Airlines for America had requested a one-year extension for cargo-in-cabin flights, but the agency said that air travel is returning to normal and could soon support necessary freight transportation needs.
The determination to keep the temporary rules for another six months was also influenced by the fact that passenger service has not yet been restored to all communities that depend on it to deliver important goods, the F said.
The agency eased rules restricting cargo to the lower deck in May 2020, during the height of the pandemic, because of severe supply chain constraints on medical supplies and other goods caused by the evaporation of passenger travel and airlines grounding fleets.
F conditions for cabin cargo include a weight limit of 50 pounds per seat and 20 pounds per space under a seat, extra fire extinguishers, at least two trained crew members riding in the cabin who are able to extinguish a fire before it can become a hazard, and an empty row in twin-aisle planes to allow access to both sides.
Global air cargo capacity remains about 20 per cent below pre-Covid levels and international passenger traffic is down by 85 per cent, but US domestic travel has completely recovered this summer.