Feb 1, 2021

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 398 words, a 2-minute read.

🚀 Situational awareness: SpaceX announced its plans for the first all-civilian mission to space.

1 big thing: "Rusty" pilots get back to work

A pilot pulls luggage while walking through a terminal at San Francisco International Airport in April. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Practice makes perfect: Airline pilots are anonymously reporting accidents and flying errors because of rustiness from long COVID-19 furloughs.

  • Pilots blamed "at least a dozen flying errors and mishaps since May" on furlough-related rustiness, the L.A. Times notes.

Why it matters: This is why the airline lobby argued it was better to keep crews on payroll so they could keep up with training, Axios transportation correspondent Joann Muller tells me.

  • Flights are up since the lows of last spring and summer, but they're still considerably lower than pre-pandemic highs.

The big picture: It's easy to take airline travel safety for granted in the U.S., which last had a fatal airline crash in 2009.

  • But "the key to flying safely is frequency," Richard McSpadden Jr. told the L.A. Times.

Between the lines: The FAA gave pilots more leeway last year on a rule that requires pilots to have performed three takeoffs and landings in the past year in order to fly commercial.

  • That can be in a simulator or plane.
  • The FAA said that the amendment was to lower the risk of spreading COVID.
2. Pic du jour
Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Aerial view of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl LV.

3. Chart: #SilverSqueeze
Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Go deeper: The silver rally has not yet materialized

4. Catch up quick

Snowmobiles on a trail in Rangeley, Maine. Photo: Robert F. Bukaty/AP

  1. Snowmobile boom: From Maine to Montana, it’s becoming difficult to find a new snowmobile for sale, AP reports.
  2. New details: The 10 Senate Republicans seeking a compromise on a COVID-19 relief package released the toplines of their proposal. Go deeper.
  3. Ford will install Google's Android operating system on all new vehicles starting in 2023. Go deeper.
  4. A majority of concussions in college football occur during practice, according to a study published in JAMA Neurology. Go deeper.
  5. The Biden administration plans to review the Trump-China trade war: Based on publicly available data, it's hard to imagine they'll find anything other than a debacle. Go deeper.
5. 1 smile to go: Suburban shopkeeper renaissance

People shop at Mill 77 Exchange at Market Street in Lynnfield, Mass. Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The pandemic that's decimated so many urban downtowns has been a surprise boon for some suburban retailers, reports Axios' Jennifer A. Kingson.

The big picture: People who used to snub their hometown merchants are enjoying the convenience of shopping local.

  • "In Westchester, home to nearly a million people, tens of thousands are no longer commuting into the city every day," the N.Y. Times reports. "For suburban businesses that has meant new customers."

The bottom line: Some 90% of Manhattan’s office employees have not returned to work, a survey by the Partnership for New York City found in October.