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【经济学人】中国航 空公司来搅局了!


中国航 空公司来搅局了!

笔译、口译、同声传译

 

译者:邓小雪 & 陈怡蓓

校对:倪婷

策划:鲁城华

 

Chinese aviation takes off

中国航空业“起飞”

 

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

西方航 空业不应对新入局的抢食者掉以轻心

 

本文选自 The Economist | 取经号原创翻译

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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.

在过去的几十年里,欧美的 老牌航空公司受到了连番打击。先是廉 价航空瓜分了短途旅客份额。然后,海湾地 区新兴的阿联酋航空、阿提哈 德航空和卡塔尔航空以优质的服务和更低的价格吸引了大量的长途旅客。如今,史上最 大的威胁又出现了——几家中 国航空公司正在崛起。不幸的是,老牌航 空为了应对新一波竞争选择牺牲乘客权益,而这会 导致客流量的进一步流失。

     

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.

中国航 空在世界上的排名正在以惊人的速度提升。2007年,中国航 司旅客运输量为1.84亿人次;而2017年则上升至5.5亿人次。据国际 航空运输协会预测,中国将在未来5年轻松超越美国,成为全 球最大的航空市场。而据世 界两大民航飞机生产巨头空客和波音的预测,在未来20年内,中国航 空公司购买飞机的数量将超过美国。

 

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%.

曾经,乘客如果有选择的话,不会选 乘中国的航空公司。航班延误是常事儿,状况频出,飞机餐又难以下咽。经过中 国航空公司的一致努力,服务标准得到提升,中国航 空公司正在赢回旅客。航空数据服务商OAG认为,2011年至2017年,中美航 线的旅客选择乘坐中国航空公司的比例从37%增长到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.

对于世 界老牌航空公司来说,中国出 入境旅客份额流失是一回事,更严重 的威胁还在后面。海湾国 家的航空公司以中东机场为枢纽向国际旅客提供转机服务,并以此进行规模扩张。同样的,中国航 空也正向提供中转服务进行转型。伦敦飞 澳大利亚最便宜的线路不再是经迪拜或阿布扎比转机,而是中转广州、上海或武汉。中国政 府已经放松了过境签证的要求,以鼓励这种转机服务。

 

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 空公司对于中国航空的崛起有两种反应,这些反 应都是消极且可以预见的。欧洲航 空公司对于中国政府的补贴提出强烈抗议,这跟当 年他们抗议海湾国家航空公司的崛起一样。法国航空、荷兰皇家航空、德国汉 莎航空的老板抱怨说他们是“不公平贸易”的受害者。他们正在进行游说,敦促欧 盟制定相关措施,不管相 关调查结果是否得出结论,都要对 接受政府补贴的国外航企(包括中国在内)实施单边制裁。

Cry foul 强烈抗议错误(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.

中国航 空公司的发展得益于国家的支持,这一点是毫无疑问的。但竞争 对手们的愤慨就来得有些不太体面了。世界范 围的航空业都背靠政府的支持。据调查公司CE Delft估算,光是能源补贴这一项,法国航 空公司每年就能(从政府)拿到10亿欧元(12亿美元)。单边制 裁可能会对航空公司有利,但会减 少乘客的选择并损害他们的利益。中国正 迅速崛起成一个庞大的游客净出口国,在旅客权益方面进行针锋相对的斗争 对欧洲造成的打击远超过中国。

reckon / 5rekEn / to calculate an amount 计算

tit-for-tat  actions done intentionally to punish other people because they have done something unpleasant to you 以牙还牙,针锋相对

 

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.

美国三 大航空公司采取了截然不同的应对策略。在合适 的时候他们也乐意打出保护主义这张牌。比如,美国航空、达美航 空和美国联合航空一直以来都在孜孜不倦地进行游说以对抗海湾国家航空公司。但在面对中国时,他们同 时嗅到了机遇与挑战。他们希 望达成一项领空开放协议,允许航 空公司在中美航线任一机场飞行。

 

Fare trade

公平贸易

 

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.

理论上来说 乘客能 从这种交易中获益良多。而在现实中,领空开 放协议为合资企业大开方便之门,这些合 资企业获得了反垄断规定的豁免权,并可能 因此导致价格上涨。从2006年到2016年,这类合 资企业控制的长途航班份额从5%跃升至25%。三大合 资企业占据了跨大西洋航线近80%的市场份额。美国老 牌航空公司也希望与中国竞争对手合作,从而垄 断跨太平洋航线。

 

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.

但对于乘客来说,不管是封闭还是开放都不好。理想化 的状态是欧洲和美国寻求同中国达成领空开放协议,同时协 议鼓励航司之间的竞争而非消灭竞争。严禁合 资航空公司获得反垄断豁免权。更加公 平地分配航班起降时段,使最佳 起飞和降落时间不至于被浪费。国家补贴公开透明。

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.

不过,与中国 航空公司达成此种明智合作的机会很渺茫。中美之 间的贸易紧张局势只是原因之一。真正的问题是,西方航 企巨头也并不喜欢这种政策。




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