字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント This video was made possible by Brilliant. Start learning with Brilliant for 20% off by being one of the first 200 people to sign up at Brilliant.org/Wendover. This is East Asia—comprised of China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan—and this is Europe. 2.4 billion people live in these two areas—a third of the world's population. More impressively, each of these two regions have a GDP of about $20 trillion. Combined, just these countries account for half of the world's economic activity. They are two of the world's most dense, most developed, and m ost economically interlinked regions and are home to the world's largest and most influential cities yet laying between them is just one country—Russia. This more of less means that one country controls whether Europe can get to Asia and vice versa and for a while, they couldn't. During the cold war, almost universally, non-soviet airlines were not allowed to fly over the Soviet Union. This proved a huge barrier to travel. In the 1950's, flying on BOAC, which later became British Airways, the fastest route from London to Tokyo involved leaving London at 10am on Friday and stopping in Rome, Beirut, Bahrain, Karachi, Calcutta, Yangon, Bangkok, and Manila before finally arriving in Tokyo at 6am on a Sunday. All in all, that was 36 hours and 10,000 miles of travel to get between two cities 6,000 miles apart and that was also their fastest service on the Comet jet plane. Their slower and cheaper propeller plane service would leave London on a Sunday and not arrive in Tokyo until Thursday after 88 hours of travel. It was just hugely inefficient but there was a better way—over the Arctic. SAS was the first to develop routes overflying the Arctic but other airlines soon followed. These routes were first used to get to the American west coast faster. This involved developing new navigation systems to overcome the issue of traditional magnetic compasses not working properly in the high north. In the 1950's no commercial airplane had the range to fly to the American west coast non-stop but with SAS's new polar route they would take a relatively quick route from Copenhagen stopping in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland and Winnipeg, Canada before arriving in Los Angeles. This cut what was previously a 36 hour trip down to 22. With SAS having proven that commercial flights over the Arctic were both safe and commercially viable, other airlines quickly followed not only setting up routes to the American west coast but also to the far east. The most direct route from London to Tokyo flies over Siberia, but since that airspace was closed airlines chose another way—the other way around the world. In 1960, only 40,000 people lived in Anchorage, Alaska and Alaska had just became a state the year before, but its airport emerged as a crucial stopping point between Europe and Asia. BOAC's thrice weekly polar route from London to Tokyo would leave Heathrow at 1:45 pm, arrive in Anchorage nine and a half hours later, stop for an hour to refuel, and then fly the remaining seven hours to Tokyo. All in all, it was timetabled to take only seventeen and a half hours—half of what the trip took before. It was as drastic a reduction in travel time as when Concorde cut New York to London flights from six hours to three. BOAC wasn't the only one. All the major European carriers set up routes to the far east via Anchorage in the 1960s and 1970s. While Anchorage sees only a few dozen daily commercial flights mostly to the continental US today, in the 1970s it was served by Air France, SAS, KLM, Iberia, Lufthansa, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, and more. This tiny town in Alaska quickly became one of the most connected and cosmopolitan areas of the world with passengers and flight crews from all around the world stopping over all because of where it was. As aircraft became more advanced with longer range, there were a few airlines that managed to avoid stopping in Anchorage on their way from Europe to East Asia. Finnair, for example, starting flying from Helsinki to Tokyo non-stop in 1983 by flying in international airspace north of Russia over the North Pole. This made what is today a nine hour flight thirteen hours but it was still faster than stopping in Anchorage. Overwhelmingly, though, airlines continued to fly through Anchorage. Eventually, though, the Soviet Union did of course fall in 1991 and with that Russia started to grant overflight rights to European and East Asian airlines. They first had to modernize and anglicize their air traffic control system. All international pilots and air traffic controllers worldwide speak English but before, since there were few international flights over Russia, the Russian air traffic controllers didn't speak english. Once the changes were made, airlines quickly switched to flying non-stop from Europe to Asia over Siberia. That left Anchorage largely deserted. The airport built a large and modern international terminal in 1982 to handle all the traffic passing through the airport but then, less than ten years later, all those airlines that kept the airport busy left in droves. Today, that international terminal, built to handle hundreds of flights per month, only sees a flight every few days. Russia, meanwhile, is prospering thanks to the opening up of its airspace. Flying to Asia over Siberia saves airlines huge amounts of time and money so Russia therefore charges airlines huge amounts of money to do so. Exact numbers vary by airline and are kept secret, but for each roundtrip flight between Europe and Asia, Siberian overflight fees are believed to account for up to $100 of a single passenger's ticket price. Russia has an enormous amount of power by controlling this airspace and they use it to their advantage. 133 countries have signed the International Civil Aviation Organization's Transit Agreement which essentially allows any airline from any country to fly through the signatory's airspace but Russia, however, has not, so they can pick and choose which country's airlines get to fly through their airspace. The country can and has used its airspace as a geopolitical weapon—in 2014 they threatened to shut down their airspace to European Union airlines in response to sanctions, in 2017 they threatened to close the airspace to Dutch airlines in response to a reduction in landing slots for a Russian airline at Schiphol airport, and in April 2018 they tacitly threatened to close their airspace to US airlines in response to US military action in Syria. But Russia not only decides which countries can fly in its airspace, it also decides which specific airlines. There is more or less a rule that only one airline per European country can overfly Russia. There are certainly exceptions—both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are London based, for example, but both overfly Siberia on their routes to Shanghai and Hong Kong, but Air France is the only French airline with Siberian overflight rights, Lufthansa is the only German airline with overflight rights, Iberia is the only Spanish airline with overflight rights, and so on and so forth. For the longest while, this wasn't a problem. European countries aren't that big and few had more than one intercontinental airline but nowadays, however, that's changing. We're seeing more and more budget airlines competing with the large, established carriers on long-haul routes but, with this system of overflight permissions, the legacy carriers more or less have a monopoly on east Asian routes. SAS, for example, operates out of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden and they have Siberian overflight rights that take them to destinations like Tokyo, Beijing, and Shanghai. SAS is therefore the only Scandinavian airline allowed to overfly Siberia. But also in Scandinavia is Norwegian Air. As one of the largest low-cost airlines in the world, Norwegian has pioneered long-haul budget flying mainly focusing on flights from major European cities to the US. The airline has said, though, that it wants to expand eastwards. They already have flights from Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm to Bangkok and from London to Singapore, but these destinations are far enough south that they don't involve flying over Siberia. The airline has repeatedly applied for Siberian overflight rights and repeatedly been denied. They argue that SAS does not operate any flight from Norway to Asia so they should be granted permission as the only Norwegian airline but, since SAS is partially registered in Norway, Russia isn't granting permission. Norwegian does have a subsidiary legally registered in the UK but its unlikely that Russia would grant overflight rights to this since British Airways and Virgin Atlantic also have overflight rights. Norwegian airlines also has a subsidiary based in Ireland which does not have an airline with Siberian overflight rights but, SAS also has a subsidiary based in the country which could mean that Russia will deny rights to this subsidiary too. As of now, Russia has not granted overflight permission to any budget airline. Others have tried—Icelandic airlines Wow Air and Icelandair have attempted to negotiate overflight rights—but Russia views overflights as a way to make money and wants to charge fees that would make it impossible for a low-cost airline. For now, Wow Air has planned to start flights from Reykjavik to Delhi, India which, in a direct routing would fly over Russia but can route around Russia by only adding 45 minutes in extra flight time if an arrangement isn't made before flights start in December 2018. Russia is a powerful politically-savvy country that knows that these overflight rights are a huge negotiation tool. Pulling the rights of a country's airline would be a huge financial blow and granting rights is also a huge advantage. Competition, though, is good for the consumer and this current system stifles it. Until Russia starts granting overflight rights to budget airlines, nonstop flights to Asia will stay expensive. The fact that this shortcut over Siberia is now open at all, however, saves millions of passengers yearly enormous amounts of time and money. Watching this ten-minute video of our technological progress might make you think that we got here in one giant leap, but that, of course, is not the case. We had to develop new navigation systems to work around old-school compasses, build airports to help planes refuel, and extend the range of aircraft. The problem of advancing enough to be able to fly non-stop to the other side of the world was huge but it was broken down and approached in small steps. Brilliant works in a similar way—breaking a problem down, identifying the relevant concepts, thinking clearly through each part, and building it back up to the conclusion. In this manner, super complex topics like number theory or calculus can be easily understood by anyone. My favorite from Brilliant is their logic course, which starts simple, but then builds up your skills so you can solve seemingly impossible problems. To support Wendover Productions and learn more about Brilliant, go to brilliant.org/wendover and sign up for free. And also, the first 200 people that go to that link will get 20% off the annual Premium subscription. Thanks for watching and we'll see you again in three weeks for another Wendover Productions video.