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Major U.S. airlines on Monday asked the Federal Aviation Administration to extend cuts to minimum flight requirements at congested New York City-area airports and a Washington airport, citing a lack of adequate air traffic control staffing.
The FAA in March agreed to the request of Delta Air Lines and United Airlines to temporarily return up to 10% of slots and flights at New York-area airports and Washington National Airport through Sept. 15.
Airlines for America, a trade group representing major carriers, in a letter seen by Reuters, asked that the cuts be extended through Oct. 28, saying air traffic staffing levels in a key northeastern sector have not “meaningfully improved.”
The FAA said Monday it was “is in the final stages of review and will decide soon.”
Airlines can lose their slots at congested airports if they do not use them at least 80% of the time. In the Airlines for America letter, the group said air traffic control staffing and extreme weather “are unique circumstances beyond our control.” The group added: “Granting relief for the rest of the summer season is in the best interest of the flying public because it will minimize disruptions and provide greater predictability for airlines and consumers.”
Last month, Chicago-based United said it would drop to about 395 daily flights from 410 at Newark Liberty International Airport after planning 438 on peak days before the FAA waiver.
In June, a government audit said the FAA faces critical air traffic staffing shortages and “lacks a plan to address them.”
The audit said New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) staffing was at 54% compared with optimal levels; it had eight supervisors but was authorized for 30.
Last summer there were 41,498 flights from New York airports where air traffic control staffing was a contributing factor in delays.
In March, it said that later this year it planned to reassign approximately 100 square miles of Newark airspace from the area known as N90 to the Philadelphia Terminal Radar Approach Control to address staffing issues.
“Since the issuance of the March waiver, the Newark airspace has not been transferred, nor have the staffing levels at N90 meaningfully improved,” Airlines for America said in Monday’s letter.
This “Barbie” has earned a billion dollars at the box office.
In its third week, the Margot Robbie-starring film earned $53 million, maintaining its No. 1 spot, and with an international gross of $74 million, put it at $1.03 billion total worldwide.
It crossed $400 million domestic and $500 million internationally faster than any other movie at Warner Bros., including the Harry Potter films.
“As distribution chiefs, we’re not often rendered speechless by a film’s performance, but Barbillion has blown even our most optimistic predictions out of the water,” said Jeff Goldstein and Andrew Cripps, who oversee domestic and international distribution for the studio, in a joint statement.
“Barbie,” directed by Greta Gerwig, is also now the highest-grossing film directed by a woman, surpassing 2017’s “Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins.
Warner Bros. co-chairs and CEOs Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy also praised Gerwig in a statement and said the milestone “is testament to her brilliance and to her commitment to deliver a movie that Barbie fans of every age want to see on the big screen.”
“Barbie” opened opposite the R-rated drama “Oppenheimer,” which had held the second place position for the past two weeks, but slid into third place behind the newly released “Meg 2.” The film has overall earned $228.6 million and is so far the highest grossing R-rated film of the year.
Rounding out the top five were Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” with $28 million, and Disney’s “Haunted Mansion,” with $9 million.
Overall, July saw its highest revenues at the box office since pre-pandemic times, according to Variety. In North America, theaters pulled in $1.36 billion, 11% better than the 2017-2019 three-year average.
Worldwide, last month was also the first time since before the pandemic that the North America, China, and international (excluding China) markets proved to be ahead of their pre-pandemic averages, according to the outlet.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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