Purpose The purpose of this study is to numerically investigate heat transfer and entropy generation between airframe and cabin-cargo departments in an aircraft. The conjugate forced convection and entropy generation in a cylindrical cavity within air channel partly filled with porous insulation material as simplified geometry for airframe and cabin-cargo departments are considered under local thermal non-equilibrium condition. Design/methodology/approach The non-dimensional governing equations for fluid and porous media discretized by finite volume method are solved using the SIMPLE algorithm with pressure and velocity correction. Findings The effects of the following parameters on the problem are investigated; Reynolds number, Darcy number, the size of inlet and exit cross-section, thermal conductivity ratio for solid and fluid phases, angle between the vertical symmetry axis and the end of channel wall exit and the gap between adiabatic channel wall and horizontal adiabatic wall separating cabin and cargo sections. Originality/value This paper can provide a basic perspective and framework for thermal design between the fuselage and cabin-cargo sections. The minimum total entropy generation number is calculated for various Reynolds numbers and thermal conductivity ratios. It is observed that the channel wall temperature increases for high Reynolds number, low Darcy number, narrower exit cross-section and wider the gap between channel wall and horizontal.