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Hi, Jason,

Launching an air travel service when the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated commercial aviation is ambitious, to put it charitably.

Actually, it is a sentence modifier. Under item 8.126 on page 618 of A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Quirk et al refer to this kind of modifiers as "metalinguistic comments," that is, expressions that refer to the way how things are said rather than to the actual message that is being conveyed.

Other metalinguistic comments are strictly/broadly speaking, so to say, literally.

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