The aerospace industry -- including civil aviation, defense and space -- should grow by just over 2% next year, although "extremely volatile economic times" could well change the outlook. "We will be holding on to our seat belts in uncertain times," said Marion Blakey, CEO of the Aerospace Industry Association, during a luncheon Wednesday to unveil the group's 2009 forecast. Military and space sales are both expected to rise, but the greatest increase should come in civil aviation, where sales are expected to rise almost 8% to $86 billion. The AIA report warns, however, that airlines face difficult times ahead. "While strategies such as cutting capacity and increasing ticket prices have positioned airlines to meet current economic troubles, the market conditions forebode weakening demand for air transportation."

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