Every week, it seems, brings a new report of an airport mishap or a near collision between airplanes. Why are so many of these happening now, and what does it tell us about the state of commercial air travel? On episode 74 of The Politics of Everything, co-hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk with journalist and private pilot James Fallows about the particular circumstances of some of the more alarming recent incidents, and with author Ganesh Sitaraman about whether the current systems governing air travel are robust enough to support this ever-growing industry.
Laura Marsh: If you’re a nervous flier, your friends and family have probably given you a version of the same spiel a dozen times: Flying is one of the safest ways you can possibly travel. It’s safer than driving a car. It’s safer than crossing the street. There hasn’t been a fatal crash on a commercial passenger flight in the U.S. since 2009. That was 14 years ago.
Alex Pareene: It’s maybe because air travel is so safe that it’s shocking when a disaster nearly happens.
Laura: In August this year, The New York Times reported that airline close calls happen far more often than previously known.
Alex: In July, a Southwest Airlines plane and a Delta Air Lines 737 came within seconds of colliding on the runway in New Orleans. A similar incident happened in San Francisco nine days later. In August, a Cessna almost landed on top of a Boeing 737 on a runway in San Diego.
Laura: That’s just a small sampling of incidents, and in fact, in the weeks between planning this episode and taping it, two more incidents were reported. An off-duty pilot attempted to disable the engines on an Alaska Airlines flight in midair on October 22, and two jets actually did collide at William Hobby Airport in Houston on October 25.
Alex: The Federal Aviation Administration held a summit in March to discuss the uptick in close calls. And at that time, the acting head of the FAA said, “Zero has to be the only acceptable number for serious incidents and close calls.”
Laura: Today on the show, we’re looking at the increase in near misses. What has to go wrong for two planes to come close to crashing, and why does it seem to be happening more? I’m Laura Marsh.
Alex: And I’m Alex Pareene.
Laura: This is The Politics of Everything.
Alex: American commercial aviation safety is, by any measure, a success story. In a system that transports nearly three million people a day, there hasn’t been a fatal crash in more than a decade. So what do all of these close calls indicate about the state of commercial air travel? Journalist James Fallows has written extensively on the subject at his Substack newsletter and is himself an instrument-rated pilot. Jim, welcome to the show.
James Fallows: Alex, thanks very much.
Alex: So there have been a number of highly publicized close-call incidents at airports throughout this year. Can you talk us through some of the most notable recent incidents and tell us what exactly happened?
James: So how about if I start with this near catastrophe in Austin? I think that is something that has people in the aviation world most distinctly worried because that was the time we came closest to having something like the highest-fatality aviation disaster in history, which was back in the 1970s in Tenerife, where one 747 taxiing was taking off into another. What happened in the Austin circumstance was sort of everything that could go wrong going wrong. And so the scenario was very bad weather. There was an overcast of about 200 feet, which meant that if a plane was landing, it couldn’t see the ground until just a few seconds before it touched down.
It also meant that the tower controller in Austin—the person who was telling the planes “take off, land, et cetera,”—couldn’t see what was happening in front of him. And the heart of the problem was that there was a FedEx plane that was inbound for landing there, and it was six miles out when it was cleared for landing on a given runway in Austin.
After that clearance, this Austin controller also cleared a Southwest plane to take off from that same runway, and the next sort of 60 seconds will loom large in the National Transportation Safety Board investigators’ minds. One of the crucial elements was when the Southwest pilot said essentially, “We are ready.” That’s something you say when you’re going to get on the runway and then leave. So the Austin controller cleared this plane to get on the runway and, hearing this, the inbound FedEx plane said, “Just confirming, we are cleared for landing.”
They’re now, say, three or four miles out, which is, let’s say, a minute or less of inbound time. The seconds tick by. Let’s say maybe half a minute or so, and again, the FedEx plane coming in is wondering what is going to happen here. I am cleared to land on a runway where I know that a plane is. And I haven’t heard from him that he is taking off.
And the Austin controller checked with the Southwest pilot again, just saying, confirming you’re getting going. It had been almost a minute’s delay of that plane sitting on the end of the runway. When the FedEx plane came down out of this 200-foot ceiling and could see a plane sitting in front of it just mere seconds away before they might have hit, the FedEx pilot had the awareness to tell the Southwest plane, abort your takeoff. Now Southwest was beginning its takeoff roll, something you normally hear from the controller. Southwest couldn’t do that. They were already too committed. The FedEx plane went around. It could have been really terrible because the Southwest plane was full of passengers. So that’s the one that has most people’s attention, but we can talk about others.
Alex: Yeah, I think that one is a terrifying story, and to just go back a little bit, you compared it to the biggest disaster in aviation history, which was Tenerife, and Tenerife was a crash, not in the air but on a runway, right?
James: Yes. The reason this is not surprising in the aviation world is that aviation operates largely on the Big Sky Theory. It’s amazing how empty the sky is when you’re up there in an airplane, and the only places that are ever crowded when you’re flying around are the approach paths to major airports. The only place that is more crowded in aviation than the approach paths to airports is the actual runway. Runway space is the only time when all these enormous, fast-moving planes come together at one point. And what has people worried now is not planes colliding in the air but planes colliding on runways.
Laura: This incident in Austin is one of many incidents we’ve been hearing about. Why do you think there’s been this sudden uptick in close calls?
James: So that is a fundamental question that people in the aviation world are asking themselves.
There are something like 44,000 commercial airplane flights every day in the United States, three million people on them. So, is this merely the law of large numbers? Or is there some kind of strain from increased traffic, from problems in the air traffic control business, where there have been waves of resignations, or just retirements after the Covid-19 era, et cetera. So what people are trying to be sure of is that this is just bad luck, as opposed to the warning sign of larger problems that might be ahead, and nobody knows.
Laura: It’s curious because it feels like there is a critical mass of these. Is it possible that we’re just now seeing more scrutiny, and each close call is actually being paid attention to? People like you are blogging about it. The New York Times has done several deep dives into these now.
James: I often beat the drum or use any other analogy about the way the air traffic safety system is a model to the rest of us, in having nondefensive, non–individual blame examinations of the entire system and the kind of transparency of saying, “We almost had a problem here, what can we learn from it? We have 10 layers of redundancy, do we need 12? Et cetera.” So I hope and believe that the air traffic system, now, is saying, we had an actual collision just a few days ago in Houston Hobby Field. We’ve had these other close calls. What do we need to be doing differently?
Alex: You mentioned the Houston thing, do you want to walk us through what happened there?
James: Yes, so Houston Hobby Field has a layout that is characteristic of smaller second-city airports as opposed to the big behemoth airports like LAX or like Denver. They have a lot of big runways, but they’re arranged so they don’t cross one another, and a lot of older airports, you can think of O’Hare in particular and Boston Logan, and Houston Hobby is one of these too, have crossing runways. So you have to be careful taking off and landing and taxiing and all of that. It would seem crazy to be able …
Alex It does, yeah.
James: You know, it seems crazy they’re designed this way, but you know, that’s long ago. And it’s crazy they can’t be fixed, because you basically can’t build any new airports.
Laura: Just to clarify, instead of parallel lines, we’re talking about an X?
Alex: Like two runways that cross, that meet at an intersection.
James: Yes, they’re basically the same length, and often the case, these airports will have simultaneous takeoff and landing operations from the two different crossing runways.
In Houston that day, the landing traffic was what they call runway 1-3-Right, coming in from the northwest to the southeast. Usually they’ll have a minimum of a minute or two separation between the landing planes so that in between, once a plane is touched down and crossed the intersection point, the plane that’s waiting to take off in the crossing direction can do so. So these are two private jets with a total of like eight people aboard; one of them was clear to land and, following the rules, coming in from the northwest to land on this runway 1-3-Right when, for reasons nobody knows, another business jet took off at more or less the same time on the crossing runway, which was runway 22 headed toward the southwest.
The planes not simply came close to hitting each other, they did hit each other. As the landing plane just cleared the intersection, the other plane was going through, and its wing tip clipped the tail of the other plane. And if it had happened one or two seconds later, it would have been a near collision; if it had been one or two seconds earlier, it would have been a broadside disaster.
The NTSB said almost immediately what had happened. They were saying the crew in the plane that was taking off did so without clearance.
Alex: Explain why that was so unusual that they came out right away and said that.
James: The NTSB is notable for its ponderousness. This is like elephant pregnancies or something. It’s a year or two before you get final conclusions. In this case, within an hour or two, the NTSB said this plane, the one that was taking off, did so without authorization, which means they must have listened to the air traffic control tapes. So presumably there’s a tape we haven’t heard yet of this plane taking off with nobody saying, “Cleared for takeoff.” But there is a tape of this pilot who did take off, very angrily saying, “You cleared somebody to land right on top of us. We had a midair…” I think little knowing that when this crew landed, they were going to the principal’s office, as we say. I don’t know if these people will have further flying careers.
Laura: In this case with the collision that actually did happen, it came down to human error or human decision. One of the things we’ve discussed with a previous guest on this podcast, Jessie Singer, who wrote a book called There Are No Accidents, is that if there’s a system where a disaster can be caused by human error, then the system is bad. How do you solve for that with flying?
James: So commercial flying, airline flying, has thought about multiple layers of redundancy for almost everything. But finally, there are times when individual decisions or competence or obedience or disobedience comes into play. It’s hard to think of a human system that has reduced more chances for pure individual malfeasance, error, or incompetence than commercial airlines have, but still it’s not zero. The risk is near zero but not zero.
Laura: Back in 2020, you wrote a piece in the early months of the pandemic with the headline, “Air Travel is Going to Be Very Bad for a Very Long Time,” and we’re now about three years out from that. Do you think that there have been changes as a result of that period when it was extremely hard to fly, a lot of low morale in the airline industry?
James: I think there’s a hypothesis that a lot of the close calls we’re hearing about now are related to the pandemic and its aftereffects. That hypothesis is mainly about the air traffic control system. Like a number of other organizations, there was a wave of people who thought, “I don’t need to do this anymore.” And there was a lot less air traffic for a while, less market for air traffic controllers. A lot of them retired. A lot of new people are being trained.
And so there is one view: Maybe this is a problem. Maybe it’s a new cadre of people who are not up to the task. I think the more mainstream view is that we’re talking about a system that actually has finite limits. Finite limits are not the sky, they are the runways, and how many incoming and outbound airplanes any given airport can absorb. And there just is a limit to how many of those there can be.
I’m going to tell you one other thing without your asking me: Back at the dawn of time, which is to say the administration of Jimmy Carter, air traffic was deregulated. I was then myself writing a number of the orders that willed this into effect. I was not conceiving them—Alfred Kahn, the air traffic deregulation czar was—but I was sort of writing them. So I feel responsibility and guilt for all the things that resulted.
Alex: Well, tell us what was supposed to happen.
James: So, the logic of deregulation was that air travel in the U.S. before that was almost Soviet-style in its centralization. It also was very expensive, and only a very small fraction of the public could travel, and it was much less safe than now.
It was the idea of deregulation to have airlines compete on price and to be able to have routes whenever they want. And the main effect has been to make air travel much more economically rational with all that means for good and bad. The bad is there is essentially no slack in the system. Every plane is full. Every baggage handler is super busy. Everything is right at capacity. That’s economically rational, and it externalizes the friction onto the traveling public.
Alex: It’s just like we discovered this about so many other things during the pandemic, the sort of just-in-time economy, it happened with logistics and shipping, and in a sense, I think, we are discovering the limits of air travel. We just cannot fit more of it.
Laura: You mentioned that air travel used to be much more dangerous, even when it was more regulated. Why did it become safer? Is it just technology?
James: I would put at the top of the list the way people in the system behave and hold one another accountable and train and all the rest. But there are a number of very important technology reasons too, and one of them is simply more information about where you are and what the problems are.
There was one notorious episode, when I was a child in 1956, when two fully loaded Lockheed Constellations ran into each other over the Grand Canyon. Everybody aboard both planes died in this horrific way, and that was an impetus for having much better radar coverage over the entire country.
Now, if you’re in the cockpit even of a little plane like I have or a big airliner, you know more about your surroundings than one does driving around with a phone. You can see where the weather is moving. You can see with a system called ADS–B where other planes are around you and how your track is coming in toward theirs. You can see where military airspace has been activated. You can see anything you want. So I think technology has been a huge enabler, but discipline and training, I would say, has been even more important.
Laura: You’ve actually written not just about the problems but some things that you think could be changed to improve the situation in the airline industry. Can you tell us what you think would make a difference?
James: There are a number of people who I have been working for a long time in NASA and in other research organizations to try to say, what is a feasible way to make available to more people what you now do if you’re really rich, which is site-to-site, non hub-and-spoke travel. There may be more smaller craft that are electric powered or whatever that can do this kind of city hopper thing. There are vertical takeoff and landing possibilities. There are electronic things that can sequence back and forth. I think the main solution is something that will reduce the pressure on what is inevitably a finite asset of coming to these runways, basically finding some way to relieve the pressure is what we can hope for.
Laura: James Fallows, thank you so much for talking with us.
James: Alex and Laura, it’s a great pleasure. Thank you.
Laura: Read James Fallows’s latest coverage of near misses and other aviation issues, among many other subjects, on his Substack newsletter, Breaking the News.
Alex: After the break, we’ll discuss how the role of government in airline policy has changed since the 1970s and how those changes may have contributed to many of the problems we’re seeing now.
Laura: We’ve talked through some of the details of recent near misses and looked at how they can unfold in the moment. But all the rules and procedures that pilots and air traffic controllers follow and the conditions that shape their work are determined long before any particular flight takes off. That part of the story is about the airlines and the U.S. government. Ganesh Sitaraman is a law professor at Vanderbilt University and a member of the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee.
His recent book, Why Flying Is Miserable and How to Fix It, traces this relationship between airlines and the government and tries to explain what went wrong. Ganesh, welcome to the show.
Ganesh Sitaraman: Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Laura: Let’s just dive in and talk about regulation. In its early decades, commercial air travel was highly regulated. Why did the government initially get involved?
Ganesh: I like to think of this story as operating in a few different eras. In the 1930s, you have really the first era of how we governed airlines and it went to about the late 1970s and the idea here was that policymakers wanted an airline system that would exist everywhere in the country. They wanted it to be stable and reliable, and so what they did is they created a federal regulatory agency called the Civil Aeronautics Board.
The board allocated specific routes between cities to particular airlines. It set the prices, and in the process, it made sure that airlines didn’t go bankrupt, that they didn’t need bailouts. In short, it treated them like a public utility. And the idea was that this was an industry that was a really critical infrastructure for transportation and commerce throughout our society. And this period was one of regulated competition.
Laura: Did any of the government regulations at that time have any stipulations about things airlines had to do in order to be safe or to check procedures around flying?
Ganesh: Yeah. This system of regulation required that air carriers be fit, willing, and able to run an airline. That meant you had to have a good business plan, you had to have enough finances, you had to know something about running a business. All of which are not specifically about safety but are really important for being able to run safely.
If you don’t have enough financing, you’re going to cut corners, and those corners might come on safety. You still had a lot of challenges with the industry in the ’40s and in the ’50s and there were plane crashes that were happening and this led to the creation of the Federal Aviation Administration in the late ’50s, and that was really a regulator that brought in a whole bunch of additional safety requirements for airlines.
Laura: In 1978, President Carter deregulates a bunch of things including the airlines. What did that process entail?
Ganesh: In the ’70s, you had a number of people who said this system is really a cartel, and what the advocates for deregulation said is pure market competition will be better. And honestly, they had a great pitch. Their pitch was, imagine you could have 200 stable airlines with cheaper prices, with no real downsides. All we need to do is let the airlines fly wherever they want, whenever they want, and charge whatever they want.
We didn’t get this dream world. What we actually got is what I think of as phase two in our regulatory history, which is a Hunger Games. The airlines were just thrown into this world where it was live or die, cutthroat competition. And so you saw airlines dropping their prices to obscenely low numbers just to push another airline out of business, only then to jack up the prices afterward. They were trying to break their unions, and new airlines were coming in with no unions, so you saw major labor-management strife. There were dozens of bankruptcies, there were dozens of mergers. It was all kinds of chaos in the 1980s.
Over time, where we ended up was settling into what I think of as really the third phase, which is a kind of monopoly capitalism that we’re in now where, you don’t really have that much choice, and a lot of the time, you get bad service at bad prices.
Alex: From your perspective, why didn’t deregulation work the way its advocates said it would?
Ganesh: So, the reason is it really gets to the fundamental economics of the industry. Businesses that do basic infrastructure, utilities, things like transportation sector, energy, telecommunications, are not normal businesses. They have tendencies to monopoly that come from being hugely expensive to get into these businesses, like you gotta lay power lines or lay down railroad tracks, you know.
They also have economies of scale. There are big networks that are often required. And in a lot of cases, we actually don’t want there to be a lot of competition. You don’t want 20 electric wires coming to your house, you actually just want one wire, but the problem then is well, now you’ve got a monopolist providing the one wire and they’re gonna abuse their power.
Alex: And they can charge whatever they want.
Ganesh: And they can charge whatever they want.
So to me, what they decided in the ’70s was this isn’t a utility. This is just like any other company. Running an airline is exactly the same as making coffee mugs or operating a convenience store. They didn’t understand how the industry’s basic economics work.
I think they made a lot of mistakes in this. Part of it was also ideological. Khan himself, one of the big advocates, said he thought it was illegitimate to care about quality of service, for example. Kind of a weird thing to say, like, his own personal preference is that we shouldn’t care about quality of service, but as a society, we might care about that.
The fact that he doesn’t care about it doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t care, and if you do care about it, you might want different public policies.
Alex: I think it’s interesting that we did deregulate the customer experience, but we didn’t actually deregulate the safety part because I feel like all of the downsides of that would have been apparent in a way that they weren’t for the economic aspect of it, right? So we kept the stringent regulations for safety this whole time.
Ganesh Sitaraman: One of the big shifts that did happen with deregulation was a kind of watering down of the requirement I mentioned earlier as an airline fit, willing, and able to fly. There were dissents during the early period of deregulation where one of the commissioners on the Civil Aeronautics Board said we’re really letting anybody who even has a conceivable business plan run an airline. We’re not actually stringently looking anymore at this.
But by and large, Alex, I think that the fact that we still have the FAA is really important for making sure we have airline safety.
Laura: One turning point with the FAA that has come up in some of these debates about safety, though, is the 1981 air traffic controllers strike, when Ronald Reagan fired 11,000 of the 13,000 air traffic controllers. Are we still seeing some of the effects of that until even fairly recently?
Ganesh: Well, one of the things that’s interesting and challenging about doing policy work in a historical context is you have to figure out when to evaluate a policy reform and how long to kind of stick with it. And for things like deregulation, I mean, this was 45 years ago now, and the traffic controller strike is 42 years ago now. And so I think there’s a real question of how much of an impact did these things have in the kind of day-to—day, as opposed to the entire system that we have. I think both stories are stories of what’s the overall structure of the system that we have, more than they are stories maybe about the kind of straight-line, linear thing that you could say, here’s exactly how the strike affected things literally yesterday. I think questions around funding, questions around hiring, and staffing, remain huge questions. I think there’s a connection in how we think about what is the value of people in the airline industry.
Laura: You also cite in the book that flight crews and pilots particularly have extremely heavy workloads, especially since the pandemic, with some flying six days a week. A recent New York Times story on some of the near misses also says that air traffic controllers are often working six days a week. Do you think these workloads are the legacy of this era of economic deregulation?
Ganesh: I think the proximate cause of the workloads is Covid and in a lot of places. When you had Covid, as everyone remembers, there’s a massive drop immediately in the amount of people flying. So demand for passengers goes way down. Nobody wants to fly anymore. Demand for airlines goes way down. When you have that drop in demand, the natural inclination of the airlines is, well, we need to roll back our service and fire people and let people go and get people to retire and all this. So, Congress stepped in, passes the Cares Act, which is an extremely important piece of legislation, and it created this payroll support program, to help prevent all of the people who work in this industry from getting furloughed or laid off.
But in that period, the airlines, I would say, skirted the spirit of the law by having a lot of voluntary retirements and that kind of thing. So you ended up still in a period where we had a number of shortages. I think that’s been a big problem. That is part of the story of why there were so many cancellations and delays and other things in recent years. But ultimately, I think this does tie back to deregulation because the system we have is one where there’s boom years where the airlines are making money, hand over fist, the CEOs are doing great. They’re saying, we don’t think we’ll ever lose money again! That’s what they said before the pandemic.
And then you have the big bust, and taxpayers have to come in and provide support to save the industry, to save everyone’s jobs. This isn’t the first time something like this happened. After 9/11, we had a big shock. We had a whole bailout program in that time period. So, deregulation unleashed this boom-and-bust cycle.
You didn’t have that in the regulated system because the point of the regulated system was we want stable, reliable service. That’s what I think we should want as a country because they’re a basic service that’s a utility for everyone.
Laura: What would you suggest to change the airline industry and kind of fix this system?
Ganesh: In the book, I talk about three principles, and I think the first principle is no more flyover country. Seventy-four cities have had a big airline pull out since Covid alone. Toledo, Ohio, a pretty big city, how many of the big airlines serve them right now?
Alex: I don’t know. How many?
Ganesh: Zero! None. They lost all service from big airlines.
Dubuque, Iowa, zero. And who wants to start a Fortune 500 company in a city that doesn’t have an airport?
Alex: Or who wants to even host a conference?
Ganesh: And what about tourism? Nobody wants to be a tourist in a place where they can’t get there very easily.
We’re a big country with lots of talented people everywhere, and they should be connected to the rest of the economy, to commerce, to everything. So that’s number one. Number two: no bailouts, no bankruptcies. We need to design a system that allows the airlines to do okay, and they should do okay but to also be prepared for when there’s crises, downturns. And that’s not just the really big ones, like Covid, like 9/11. It’s also the regular things, like they should be more prepared for weather events. We know they’re coming and we should be ready for that and design a system that works with that.
Then third is fair and transparent pricing. As consumers, we are constantly now trying to deal with, “Well, if I get this ticket, do I also have to pay to pick my seat and for the extra bag, and am I gonna have to pay to get a refund,” or whatever.
Alex: And the advertised fare might have nothing to do with what you end up paying.
Ganesh: And it might be different on Tuesday or Wednesday, and it might be different at 2 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon, and why should we have a system like that?
Alex: I think it’s really interesting because we were talking about safety too, and I think the sort of legacy deregulation on safety. One of the interesting things that our last guest brought up is when you have more of these mega hubs, they’re busier right and these places are at capacity. You can’t add more flights to them, which leads to more of these close calls. So it’s spreading more air traffic around to these other places, like you say, would in addition to benefiting those places, I imagine have a benefit to safety as well.
Ganesh: Yeah, and it’s not just that and it’s not just the economic growth questions we talked about earlier. It’s also delays and cancellations because, if you have high winds in Dallas and there’s hundreds of flights on American going through Dallas, and they’re shut down for a few hours that cascades throughout the entire network because so much of their traffic goes through there. So, when you have this kind of concentration in these big fortress hubs, it’s actually worse for resilience in the system as a whole.
The other thing that we see with concentration is related to competition: more concentration, less competition, less competition, higher prices. So Detroit, for example, in the period of regulation in 1977, the biggest airline in Detroit, Delta, had 21 percent of the airport. Delta now has more than 70 percent in Detroit. That’s a huge change.
Laura: It sounds like some of these changes would both help alleviate the congestion in the system and help with some of the safety issues that have been coming up and that have come to light since March. But also they could make flying less awful just in general for the average person who’s on a safe flight, but is like, “Oh no, I didn’t book my backpack, my carry on, when I got my ticket, so now I have to pay like the gate price to bring my backpack on.”
Ganesh: Exactly, yeah. I think if you get the big structures right, it actually has a way of shaping incentives that actually solve a lot of other problems that maybe you didn’t think you were solving. One of the things that I think is a challenge is we spent a lot of years now trying to play Whac-A-Mole on airline policy, right? We need a passenger’s bill of rights and then one amendment in the bill of rights will be this little thing. But then next year something happens and we’re like, oh, well, I guess we should add that one to the list. We can’t play a Whac-A-Mole game because there will always be new problems that are emerging. We should try to get the basic structures right, and if we do that, then we hopefully won’t have to play Whac-A-Mole afterward.
Alex: Ganesh, thank you so much for talking to us today.
Ganesh Sitaraman: Thank you so much.
Laura: Ganesh Sitaraman’s latest book, Why Flying is Miserable And How to Fix It, published by Columbia Global Reports, is out November 14 and is available to pre-order now.
Alex: The Politics of Everything is co-produced by Talkhouse.
Laura: Emily Cooke is our executive producer.
Alex: Lorraine Cademartori produced this episode.
Laura: Myron Kaplan is our audio editor.
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Laura: Thanks for listening.