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  • This video was made possible by Curiosity Stream.

  • For just $12 a year, get access to both Curiosity Stream and Nebulahome to our brand-new

  • hour-long documentary called the Final Years of Majuro.

  • Out of the myriad problems that emerged in the world in Spring 2020, there is one that

  • is quietly being solvedone that has to do with the behind-the-scenes of a globalized,

  • modern-day economy.

  • Understanding it is easy.

  • At its core, it’s a simple supply and demand mismatch.

  • You see, back in March 2020, when COVID-19 reached pandemic status, almost every airline

  • in the world drastically scaled back its flying.

  • It varied from region to region and airline to airline, but the common trend everywhere

  • was that, if any route got cut, it was almost certainly a long-haul one.

  • In the era of quarantine periods, border closings, and other travel restrictions, there is near-zero

  • demand for long-haul, international travel, so intercontinental flights were quickly removed

  • from airline schedules.

  • For example, in April 2019, about 500 roundtrip flights per day would fly between Europe and

  • the US, however, in April 2020, that number was reduced to about 80 per day.

  • That represents between an 80% and 90% reduction.

  • Ignoring airline revenue, you’d think that that would be a loss-free situation, though:

  • it reduces carbon emissions, many governments are covering the salaries of furloughed workers,

  • it reduces airline expenditure, and nobody’s riding in the cabins anyways, but that doesn’t

  • consider what rides below the cabin.

  • On nearly every intercontinental flight, in the belly hold, among the hundreds of passenger

  • bags, there is cargo.

  • In fact, 45% of the world’s air cargo is carried in this method.

  • Now, the math to explain the supply and demand mismatch is simple.

  • The proportion of cargo carried on passenger aircraft varies from route to route, so 60%

  • of Western Europe to US air cargo, for example, flies on passenger planes.

  • 80% to 90% of transatlantic passenger flights are not flying, which means that about 50%

  • of air cargo capacity in this market has disappeared in a matter of weeks.

  • The situation is less severe in other markets, but, industry-wide, the overall air cargo

  • capacity reduction was about 23% in March, 2020.

  • So that’s the supply figure, but what about demand?

  • As a huge proportion of the world entered various lockdown scenarios, economic forecasts

  • plummeted.

  • The extent of the financial toll will not be clear for a while, but it is clear that

  • it is deeply negative.

  • This all has an effect on air cargo demand.

  • On a macro level, consumers are buying less, which means less is shipped, which means companies

  • are buying less, which means less is shipped, which means suppliers are making less, which

  • means less is shipped.

  • On a micro level, different jurisdictions worldwide differ on the exact details of their

  • Coronavirus response, but in many places, factories are shut down which means supply

  • chains are cut.

  • So, from an economic perspective, one would predict that demand would almost certainly

  • be down, but like all things in the age of Coronavirus, there is another dominant perspectivethat

  • of public health.

  • From almost the moment COVID-19 emerged, it became clear that it was a highly infectious

  • virus, which means that a crucial component of the safe treatment of an infected individual

  • is the use of personal protective equipment, or PPE.

  • In this context, that means, masks, shields, gowns, and more, which healthcare facilities

  • always stock, but never in the quantity needed to cover nearly universal staff usage for

  • a long period.

  • That means that, in order to reduce the risk of staff exposure, nearly every hospital in

  • the world needed more PPE.

  • Purely by chance, it turns out that the number one medical PPE producing country in the world

  • was also the first country to experience COVID-19—China.

  • Before the pandemic, the country produced 20 million medical masks per day, or about

  • half of the world’s supply.

  • By the beginning of March, though, this had already been scaled up to more than 100 million

  • per day.

  • It was at exactly this time when, simultaneously, China’s manufacturing industry started to

  • inch back to life and the virus truly took hold of the rest of the world.

  • With how fast COVID-19 ramped up, many hospitals in hotspots like Italy, Spain, and the US

  • were reusing masks and, even with that technique, were down to only days of supply, so they

  • needed supply from China, and other manufacturing hubs, as fast as possible.

  • In the logistics world, “as fast as possible,” means air cargo.

  • Thanks to this unprecedented and urgent demand for PPE and other medical supplies, demand

  • for air cargo only dropped by 15% in March, 2020.

  • Considering air cargo capacity dropped by 23%, that means that there was an 8% gap between

  • supply and demand.

  • In the context of this enormous industry, 8% is huge, and so the laws of supply and

  • demand followed their course.

  • The cost to transport goods by air spiked, especially in the crucial Asia to US and Europe

  • markets.

  • In the last two weeks of March, air cargo rates from Hong Kong to North America jumped

  • 27% above normal, while rates from Shanghai to Europe increased by 50%.

  • Of course, after a supply and demand mismatch economic forces push companies to increase

  • supply, which is exactly what happened.

  • Cargo airlines that could massively ramped up their flights.

  • Kalitta Air, for example, an American cargo airline, brought some aircraft out of storage

  • and increased its long-haul flying by nearly 50%.

  • However, there is only so much that these cargo airlines can do.

  • They only have so many aircraft, so many pilots, and so many mechanics so they can’t massively

  • ramp up their operations in a short time.

  • Who did have extra capacity, though, were passenger airlines, and that’s where a small

  • solution emerged.

  • A plane with no passengers is not necessarily an empty plane.

  • An average airline earns 15% to 20% of its revenue through cargo, but keep in mind what

  • an average airline looks like.

  • Most of the average North American airlinesflying is domestic and short-haul, where little

  • cargo is carried, so the proportion of revenue coming from cargo on a long-haul flight is

  • far higher.

  • Consider too that, on a normal long-haul passenger flight, a considerable portion of the cargo

  • hold is filled with baggage so that 15 to 20% is derived from only some of the capacity

  • on only some flights.

  • Airlines soon realized that there was a possibility of turning a profit flying a passenger plane

  • with no passengers.

  • Now, normally, a passenger a330, for example, has capacity for 38 thousand pounds or 17

  • thousand kilograms of cargo in its belly hold.

  • That’s compared to the freighter version of the a330 which can carry 132 thousand pounds

  • or 60 thousand kilograms of freight thanks to its completely empty cabin.

  • That means that the passenger a330 can only carry 29% as much cargo as its freighter counterpart.

  • However, considering that freight rates have risen by as much as 50%, that means that flying

  • these aircraft can earn about 44% as much per flight as their freighter counterparts

  • normally do.

  • Making less than half as much as cargo airlines clearly would not make flying passenger aircraft

  • for cargo purposes worth it, but there is more to consider.

  • First, jet fuel prices are at an all-time low, largely in response to all-time low demand.

  • The same gallon that would have cost airlines $2.20 in January, 2020 costs about 40 cents

  • in late-April, 2020, and those prices are continuing to drop.

  • In normal conditions, fuel is airlinesnumber one cost so having that drop by a factor

  • of five reduces the cost to operate a flight dramatically.

  • That means that they need to earn far less than what a cargo airline does in normal conditions

  • to break-even.

  • In addition, most airlines are paying their pilots and other staff anyways.

  • In the US, for example, airlines are required, as a condition of their government relief

  • funding, to not lay off or furlough any staff, so the marginal staffing cost to operate an

  • additional flight is minimal.

  • Thirdly, with no passengers, airlines have quickly innovated new ways to carry cargo.

  • Many airlines have loaded their passenger cabins with cargo placed directly on top of

  • and fastened to seats.

  • This dramatically increases complexity and loading time, but it also dramatically increases

  • capacity.

  • All of these conditions and circumstances combine to the point that, for this brief

  • moment in time, economics dictate that an airline can turn a profit flying a passenger

  • plane without passengers.

  • Big airlines like American Airlines, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and Air New Zealand began cargo-only

  • flightsso many, in fact, that United airlines, for example, had up to dozens of passenger-less

  • passenger planes airborne at the same time all around the world.

  • This also created flights that have never happened before, like a 16-hour nonstop cargo-only

  • trip from Sydney to Toronto by Air Canada.

  • But it wasn’t all just big airlines on long flights.

  • Smaller airlines too got in on the game.

  • Air Greenland started a link on a tiny propeller Dash-8 to transport Coronavirus tests for

  • processing in a Danish lab, Titan airways flew medical supplies to the remote island

  • of St Helena on a passenger a318, and Wizz Air flew their passenger a321’s to Shanghai

  • via Kazakstan to transport medical supplies to Hungary.

  • These circumstances have also led to a dramatic reshuffling of rank and order in the aviation

  • world.

  • The list of the world’s busiest airports, in terms of annual aircraft movements, is

  • normally headed by Atlanta, followed by Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Beijing, and a number

  • of other major hub airports.

  • Normally, you wouldn’t expect an airport from America’s third least populous state

  • anywhere on the first pages of that list, however, for a brief moment in April, 2020,

  • that was the case.

  • Anchorage airport, in Alaska, became the world’s busiest airport thanks to its strategic location.

  • It has long been a busy cargo airport as it acts as stopover point for cargo flights from

  • Asia to North America.

  • They stop here because it is more efficient for aircraft, on long-haul flights, to take

  • less fuel and more cargo and refuel halfway through than fly nonstop to their destination.

  • Also, in some cases, freight is sorted and exchanged between aircraft in Anchorage.

  • In April 2020, the US ranked number one in the world for new and total Coronavirus cases,

  • so it had a tremendous need for medical supplies, which are overwhelmingly produced in Asia,

  • so hundreds of cargo aircraft per day passed through Anchorage on their way between Asia

  • and the US.

  • So, while every other major airport in the US fell into relative silence, Anchorage was

  • busier than ever.

  • There is, however, one final issue that the air cargo world is facing.

  • Beyond the short-term issue of too much demand, the long-term issue is that this demand will

  • not last.

  • Global air cargo demand closely tracks with global economic health.

  • Every indicator suggests that the economy will not emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic

  • even close to as strong as when it entered, so there will undoubtably be some slow months

  • and years for air cargo.

  • Once urgent demand for medical supplies eases, and buyers have the time to switch to slower

  • forms of shipping, the air cargo world will almost certainly follow the fate of its passenger-carrying

  • colleagues.

  • On the exact same day as this video goes out, we released a brand-new, hour-long documentary

  • called, “The Final Years of Majuro.”

  • It’s about the isolated nation of the Marshall Islands and, specifically, what life is like

  • when you know your nation is coming to an endwhen where you live has an expiration

  • date.

  • This project is available exclusively on Nebulathe streaming site home to loads of educational

  • creatorsbig, ambitious projects.

  • Now, the best way to get access to Nebula is through Curiosity Stream’s bundle deal.

  • When you sign up for any subscription at CuriosityStream.com/Wendover, including a free trial, youll get free

  • access to Nebula, but the best deal is absolutely their annual subscription as, for a limited

  • time, its available for 40% off meaning both Curiosity Stream and Nebula combined are just

  • $12 a year.

  • This new documentary was a huge project where we flew a crew to the other side of the world

  • and worked with a large team for months in post production, and it was only made possible

  • thanks to Curiosity Stream, Nebula, and your subscriptions to them.

This video was made possible by Curiosity Stream.

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航空货运的冠状病毒问题(Air Cargo's Coronavirus Problem)

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    joey joey 發佈於 2021 年 06 月 10 日
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