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Data: CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans are slowly getting ready to fly again, with 44% of U.S. adults now saying they plan to fly in the next six months, data from CivicScience show.

By the numbers: That’s a 1 percentage-point bump from March and an 8 percentage-point increase from September. However, it's still well below pre-pandemic levels.

The intrigue: Despite the overall increase in intent to fly, 3 of the 4 major U.S. airlines saw a decline in the number of respondents who said they expected to fly with that airline.

  • This could signal increased interest in using smaller carriers like Southwest, CivicScience notes.
  • It also suggests that customers remain more comfortable with airlines that left middle seats open during the pandemic.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 16, 2021 - Health

Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocks 2 counties' mask mandates

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (left) and Attorney General Ken Paxton. Photo: Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc./Corbis via Getty Images

The Texas Supreme Court granted an emergency stay to the state's Republican governor, Greg Abbott, over his ban on face mask mandates on Sunday.

Why it matters: The stay overrides lower court rulings in favor of local authorities in the counties of Dallas and Bexar, which includes San Antonio, to temporarily impose mask mandates despite Abbott's May executive order.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
18 mins ago - Science

A new NASA astronaut corps for the next era in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA's next crewed missions to the Moon will need a larger, differently-trained and multi-skilled astronaut corps to deliver on the agency's ambitions.

Why it matters: NASA has plans to fly astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2025 and ultimately establish a long-term presence there. That goal requires a robust corps with new, specialized training in what it takes to live and work on the Moon — and NASA needs to start planning now.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.