Feb 5, 2021

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 385 words, a 1.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Dashed hopes for airline recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The airline industry's recovery suddenly looks rougher than expected, Axios Navigate author Joann Muller reports.

The big picture: Forecasts that air travel would recover to 50% of pre-pandemic levels in 2021 now seem like a stretch.

  • "There’s a recovery, but it’s a much smaller recovery," Brian Pearce, chief economist of the International Air Transport Association, told reporters.
  • His worst-case scenario: Air travel in 2021 hits just 38% of 2019 levels.

The new COVID strains have triggered renewed limits on cross-border travel and a dizzying array of quarantine restrictions.

  • An ominous sign: Booking for future travel slowed significantly in January, IATA reported.
  • U.S. airlines are urging against pre-departure testing, saying it would limit travel access for low-income and rural communities.

The bottom line: Aviation isn't likely to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 or 2024.

2. 🏀 San Antonio gets women's tourney

Imani Lewis of the Wisconsin Badgers takes a shot against the Maryland Terrapins in College Park yesterday. Photo: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

San Antonio will host the entire NCAA women’s March Madness, AP reports.

  • The tournament will feature the full 64 teams and will run from March 21 through April 4.
  • The men's tournament is taking a similar approach in Indianapolis.
3. Catch up quick

In the White House driveway today, reporters reflect in the glasses of House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  1. The House narrowly approved the budget resolution that will be used as a vehicle for President Biden's $1.9 trillion relief proposal. Go deeper.
  2. Microsoft will suspend contributions for the 2022 election cycle to members of Congress who objected to the election results. Go deeper.
  3. The lawyer for detained Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi says he was unable to meet with her. She is under house arrest after a military coup. —Reuters
  4. The Bloomberg-founded Hawkish political and data agency is shutting down. It was the first to warn ahead of Election Day about the "red mirage." Go deeper.
  5. New York now trails only Arizona in COVID-19 hospitalization rates, Bloomberg reports.
  6. 🎧 Axios Re:Cap interviewed Tampa Bay defensive lineman (and Husker legend) Ndamukong Suh. Listen here.
4. Mass vaccination blitz
A man gets his vaccine at a vaccination hub in League City, Texas. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images
  1. The NFL's 32 teams have pledged their stadiums as COVID-19 mass vaccination sites, commissioner Roger Goodell told President Biden. See the letter.
  2. The Defense Department will send more than 1,000 active-duty military personnel to support mass coronavirus vaccination sites. The Pentagon hopes the military can administer 450,000 vaccinations a day. Go deeper.
Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP

Above: People stand in line at Yankee Stadium today to register for an appointment for their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

  • The mega-site is restricted to Bronx residents, as a way to boost vaccination rates in the New York City borough with the highest percentage of positive coronavirus test results.