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        【經濟學人】中國航空公司來攪局了!


        中國航空公司來攪局了!

        筆譯、口譯、同聲傳譯

         

        譯者:鄧小雪 & 陳怡蓓

        校對:倪婷

        策劃:魯城華

         

        Chinese aviation takes off

        中國航空業“起飛”

         

        The West should not pull up the drawbridge against a new wave of disrupters

        西方航空業不應對新入局的搶食者掉以輕心

         

        本文選自 The Economist | 取經號原創翻譯

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        OVER the past few decades, established airlines in Europe and America have been hit by one thing after another. First came low-cost carriers, chipping away at their short-haul routes. Lately, a new crop of super-connecting airlines in the Gulf, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, has lured away their long-haul passengers with superior service and lower fares. Now looms the biggest threat of all—the rise of several promising Chinese airlines (see article). Unfortunately, the response of the incumbents risks depriving passengers of the benefits from this latest wave of competition.

        在過去的幾十年里,歐美的老牌航空公司受到了連番打擊。先是廉價航空瓜分了短途旅客份額。然后,海灣地區新興的阿聯酋航空、阿提哈德航空和卡塔爾航空以優質的服務和更低的價格吸引了大量的長途旅客。如今,史上最大的威脅又出現了——幾家中國航空公司正在崛起。不幸的是,老牌航空為了應對新一波競爭選擇犧牲乘客權益,而這會導致客流量的進一步流失。

             

        China’s airlines are rising up the world rankings at a breathtaking pace. In 2007 passengers in China made 184m journeys by air; last year around 550m did. The International Air Transport Association, a trade group, predicts that China will leapfrog America as the world’s biggest market in the coming five years. During the next two decades Airbus and Boeing, the world’s two big manufacturers of passenger aircraft, forecast that Chinese carriers will buy more jets than American ones.

        中國航空在世界上的排名正在以驚人的速度提升。2007年,中國航司旅客運輸量為1.84億人次;而2017年則上升至5.5億人次。據國際航空運輸協會預測,中國將在未來5年輕松超越美國,成為全球最大的航空市場。而據世界兩大民航飛機生產巨頭空客和波音的預測,在未來20年內,中國航空公司購買飛機的數量將超過美國。

         

        Passengers who had a choice used to avoid Chinese airlines. Delays were common, accidents frequent and the food inedible. However, after a concerted effort to improve standards, they are winning flyers over. OAG, a data firm, reckons that in 2011-17 the proportion of passenger seats between China and America on Chinese airlines rose from 37% to 61%.

        曾經,乘客如果有選擇的話,不會選乘中國的航空公司。航班延誤是常事兒,狀況頻出,飛機餐又難以下咽。經過中國航空公司的一致努力,服務標準得到提升,中國航空公司正在贏回旅客。航空數據服務商OAG認為,2011年至2017年,中美航線的旅客選擇乘坐中國航空公司的比例從37%增長到61%。

         

        Losing the battle to fly people in and out of China is one thing. But the menace to the world’s established carriers goes deeper. Just as the Gulf airlines expanded by offering connecting flights to international passengers through their Middle Eastern hubs so, too, are Chinese airlines turning themselves into connectors. The cheapest way to get from London to Australia, for instance, is no longer via Dubai or Abu Dhabi but through Guangzhou, Shanghai or Wuhan. The Chinese authorities have loosened visa requirements to encourage this kind of transfer traffic.

        對于世界老牌航空公司來說,中國出入境旅客份額流失是一回事,更嚴重的威脅還在后面。海灣國家的航空公司以中東機場為樞紐向國際旅客提供轉機服務,并以此進行規模擴張。同樣的,中國航空也正向提供中轉服務進行轉型。倫敦飛澳大利亞最便宜的線路不再是經迪拜或阿布扎比轉機,而是中轉廣州、上海或武漢。中國政府已經放松了過境簽證的要求,以鼓勵這種轉機服務。

         

        China’s arrival as an aviation superpower has prompted two responses from big Western carriers—both predictable, neither good. The Europeans are crying foul about government aid, just as they did when the Gulf airlines became a threat. The bosses of Air France-KLM and Lufthansa wail that they are the victims of “unfair trade”. They are lobbying for rules that would let the European Union place unilateral sanctions on subsidised foreign rivals, Chinese carriers among them, even before any investigation has been concluded.

        西方航空公司對于中國航空的崛起有兩種反應,這些反應都是消極且可以預見的。歐洲航空公司對于中國政府的補貼提出強烈抗議,這跟當年他們抗議海灣國家航空公司的崛起一樣。法國航空、荷蘭皇家航空、德國漢莎航空的老板抱怨說他們是“不公平貿易”的受害者。他們正在進行游說,敦促歐盟制定相關措施,不管相關調查結果是否得出結論,都要對接受政府補貼的國外航企(包括中國在內)實施單邊制裁。

        Cry foul 強烈抗議錯誤(或不公平)

         

        The fact that Chinese airlines benefit from support from the state is not in question. But the outrage of rivals is shamelessly confected. Around the world, the aviation industry has been built on government support. CE Delft, a research firm, reckons that French airlines get €1bn ($1.2bn) in energy subsidies alone each year. Unilateral sanctions might benefit incumbents, but would restrict choice and harm passengers. A tit-for-tat battle over flying rights would hit Europe harder than China, which is fast becoming a sizeable net exporter of tourists.

        中國航空公司的發展得益于國家的支持,這一點是毫無疑問的。但競爭對手們的憤慨就來得有些不太體面了。世界范圍的航空業都背靠政府的支持。據調查公司CE Delft估算,光是能源補貼這一項,法國航空公司每年就能(從政府)拿到10億歐元(12億美元)。單邊制裁可能會對航空公司有利,但會減少乘客的選擇并損害他們的利益。中國正迅速崛起成一個龐大的游客凈出口國,在旅客權益方面進行針鋒相對的斗爭對歐洲造成的打擊遠超過中國。

        reckon / 5rekEn / to calculate an amount 計算

        tit-for-tat  actions done intentionally to punish other people because they have done something unpleasant to you 以牙還牙,針鋒相對

         

        The big three American carriers have taken a different tack. They are also happy to play the protectionist card when it suits them. American, Delta and United have all been lobbying hard against the Gulf carriers, for instance. But with China they sniff an opportunity as well as a threat. They want an open-skies treaty, which would allow airlines to fly between any airport in the two countries.

        美國三大航空公司采取了截然不同的應對策略。在合適的時候他們也樂意打出保護主義這張牌。比如,美國航空、達美航空和美國聯合航空一直以來都在孜孜不倦地進行游說以對抗海灣國家航空公司。但在面對中國時,他們同時嗅到了機遇與挑戰。他們希望達成一項領空開放協議,允許航空公司在中美航線任一機場飛行。

         

        Fare trade

        公平貿易

         

        In theory, passengers have much to gain from a deal of this sort. In practice, open-skies deals open the door to joint ventures (JVs), which are granted immunity from antitrust rules and so can potentially lead to higher prices. In 2006-16 the share of long-haul passenger traffic controlled by such JVs leapt from 5% to 25%. Three JVs account for almost 80% of the transatlantic market. The established American airlines would love to team up with Chinese rivals in order to dominate the Pacific, too.

        理論上來說 乘客能從這種交易中獲益良多。而在現實中,領空開放協議為合資企業大開方便之門,這些合資企業獲得了反壟斷規定的豁免權,并可能因此導致價格上漲。從2006年到2016年,這類合資企業控制的長途航班份額從5%躍升至25%。三大合資企業占據了跨大西洋航線近80%的市場份額。美國老牌航空公司也希望與中國競爭對手合作,從而壟斷跨太平洋航線。

         

        Neither shutout nor carve-up is good for passengers. In an ideal world, Europe and America would seek open-skies deals with China but design them to nurture competition rather than mute it. Airline JVs would be barred from gaining antitrust immunity. Airport slots would be allocated more fairly, so that the best landing and take-off times were not hoarded. State handouts would be transparent.

        但對于乘客來說,不管是封閉還是開放都不好。理想化的狀態是歐洲和美國尋求同中國達成領空開放協議,同時協議鼓勵航司之間的競爭而非消滅競爭。嚴禁合資航空公司獲得反壟斷豁免權。更加公平地分配航班起降時段,使最佳起飛和降落時間不至于被浪費。國家補貼公開透明。

        carve-up  noun[sing.] (BrE, informal) the dividing of sth such as a company or a country into separate parts 拆散;分割;瓜分

         

         Alas, the chances of reaching such a sensible accommodation with China’s airlines are low. Rising trade tensions between America and China are only part of the explanation (see article). The real problem is that big Western carriers would not much like such policies either.

        不過,與中國航空公司達成此種明智合作的機會很渺茫。中美之間的貿易緊張局勢只是原因之一。真正的問題是,西方航企巨頭也并不喜歡這種政策。


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