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The global airfreight industry is poised to provide some "light at the end of the tunnel" for those worried about higher fuel prices and economic uncertainty. That, at least, is the scenario offered by OAG Analytical Services, part of the Official Airline Guide. In a report on airfreight demand for 2008-2017, OAG predicts an annual growth rate of 5.6 percent by the year 2011, following the end of the near-term slowdown. What's bad for some sectors, apparently, is good for airfreight. Tighter security regulations, soaring fuel costs, volatile currency exchange rates and the price of new environmental initiatives all promise to have a negative impact on most businesses. But OAG sees those very same trends, coupled with the liberalization of air rights between the U.S. and points in China and the European Union, as "creating a growing demand for freighter aircraft." Growth will be particularly strong in the international airfreight market, averaging 6.1 percent annually during the 10-year forecast period. "The rising cost of operations will force the industry to make tough decisions that will impact airfreight capacity on a global level," said Tulinda Larsen, managing director of OAG Analytical Services.
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