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The air cargo industry

Rico Merkert and David Alexander

Introduction

The air cargo industry has significantly changed since the introduction of aircraft in the early twentieth century. Air cargo, especially air mail, dominated the early commercial activities of airlines until the development of aircraft such as the DC-3 and the economics of air passenger travel took over. The Second World War saw a resurgence in air cargo, with military airlifts and post-war humanitarian operations (e.g. the Berlin Airlift). Despite facing two international oil crises in 1973 and 1978, the 1970s saw further development of the air cargo industry, with the birth of FedEx (a few years after DHL) and liberalisation of domestic air cargo markets in the United ...

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