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英语新闻:德国之翼坠机之后,汉莎航空是否将名声受损?

2015-03-26    来源:财富中文网    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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英语新闻:德国之翼坠机之后,汉莎航空是否将名声受损?

英语新闻:

When Fortune spoke with Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr in November, the company had just scaled back its earnings targets due to a weaker global economy and overcapacity. The German airline is being squeezed on short-haul flights by discount carriers like Easyjet and Ryan Air and by booming Middle Eastern carriers on long-haul routes. It’s been also been plagued by pilot strikes, which have cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

But when surveying his airline’s overall operations, the CEO, who’d been on the job just six months at the time of his conversation with Fortune, pointed to its discount arm Germanwings as a bright spot.

“Our low cost subsidiary Germanwings [has] been a great success; bigger than we expected,” he said. Indeed, Lufthansa is in the process of shifting more of its European traffic from its flagship brand to Germanwings and its other discount subsidiary, Eurowings, because of their lower operating costs. Spohr told Fortune that he expected Germanwings—which launched in 2002—to be profitable in 2015. “It very much looks like we will be meeting that target.”

On Tuesday, it was easy to wonder if that still holds true.

An Airbus A320 jetliner operated by Germanwingscrashed in the French Alps on its way from Barcelona to Dusseldorf on Tuesday morning. All 150 people on board are presumed dead.

Spohr Tweeted on Tuesday that it was a “dark day” for Lufthansa. The company said on its website, “Everyone at Germanwings and Lufthansa is deeply shocked and saddened by these events. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the passengers and the crew members.”

When asked about the business implications of the crash, a Lufthansa spokeswoman said that its highest priority was conducting a full investigation of the crash and providing the families and friends of the plane’s passengers and crew with “all the care and assistance they need.”


Shares of Lufthansa dipped as much as 4.6% in European trading on Tuesday and closed 1.7% lower.

When such airline catastrophes occur, there’s always speculation about what it will mean for the businesses involved for the long-term. Robert Mann, an industry consultant and a former airline executive, says that most plane crashes, as tragic and headline-grabbing as they may be, “have very little impact on a carrier’s ongoing business.”

There are a few exceptions, mainly in cases where “there is an indication of systemic issues or incompetence.” Mann points to ValuJet as an example of a carrier that was wrecked by the latter.

In 1996, ValuJet Flight 592 caught fire shortly after takeoff and crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 passengers that were on board. An investigation into the crash determined that a ValuJet subcontractor that had illegally loaded oxygen tanks into the plane’s cargo hold was responsible for the tragedy “It’s ironic, since it wasn’t even ValuJet’s fault; it just happened to use a vendor who was incompetent,” Mann says.


But still, ValuJet couldn’t shake the scrutiny and fallout from the tragedy. After the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all ValuJet planes, the carrier eventually returned to the air with a reduced fleet, but it never rebuilt its customer base and ultimately merged with the smaller AirTran Airways, which is now a part of Southwest Airlines.

Then there’s Malaysia Airlines, which saw a drastic drop-off in passengers following the disappearance of Flight 370 in March 2014 and the fatal downing of Flight 17 in Ukraine in July. The Malaysian government took the airline private in August in an attempt to restore its financial health.

Based on reports of Tuesday’s plane crash, it’s not clear what caused the Germanwings aircraft to go down. Mann notes that Lufthansa services its Germanwings fleet, alongside the rest of its planes, at Lufthansa Technik, one of the airline industry’s largest maintenance providers. Lufthansa’s last fatal accident occurred 20 years ago, and Germanwings’ safety record was perfect until Tuesday.

Lufthansa is “a quality organization”, Mann says. The value of that attribute can’t be overstated. Every airline passenger is after a good price, but “the one thing people will not trade away is safety,” he says.

Lufthansa: n.(联邦德国)汉莎航空公司 

short-haul: adj.短距离的,短程的

subsidiary: adj.附带的,附属的,次要的; 助的,帮助的

jetliner: n.喷气客机

subcontractor: n.转包商,次承包者

Federal Aviation Administration: 美国联邦航空管理局

(财富中文网)


《财富》杂志在去年11月采访汉莎航空首席执行官卡斯滕•斯波尔时,该公司刚因为全球经济疲软和产能过剩调低了自己的收益预期。这家德国航空公司在短途航班市场遭遇了易捷航空和瑞安航空等廉价运营商的挤压,在长途航班上又面临着一众新兴中东运营商的挑战。飞行员罢工更是给汉莎航空雪上加霜,使其付出了数亿美元的代价。

不过纵览公司整体运营情况,这位当时才上任六个月的首席执行官指出,汉莎旗下的廉价航空运营商德国之翼是一个亮点。

他说:“我们的廉价航空子公司德国之翼做得非常成功,超乎公司预期。”确实,汉莎航空正把更多的欧洲客流从自身的旗舰品牌移向德国之翼和另一家廉价航空子公司欧洲之翼,因为其运营成本更低。斯波尔对《财富》表示,他希望2002年成立的德国之翼能在2015年盈利:“看起来我们很有可能达成这个目标。”

但在本周二,我们不由怀疑这个预测是否还能实现。

24日,德国之翼运营的一架空客A320客机从巴塞罗那起飞,前往杜塞尔多夫,途中坠毁于法国阿尔卑斯山区。预计机上的150名乘客全部罹难。

斯波尔周二在Twitter上表示,对汉莎航空而言,这是“黑暗的一天”。公司官网称:“对于这起坠机事件,德国之翼和汉莎航空的每个人都感到深深的震惊和悲哀。我们将与机上乘客和机组人员的家人和朋友一起哀悼和祈祷。”

当被问到坠机事件将对公司业务产生哪些影响时,汉莎航空发言人表示,公司首先要做的是对坠机事件进行全面的调查,并对机上乘客和机组人员的亲友提供“他们所需的一切关怀和援助”。

汉莎航空的股价在周二一度暴跌4.6%,收盘时跌幅止于1.7%。

当这样的空难发生后,坊间都会推测其对公司业务的长期影响。不过一位行业顾问兼前航空公司高管罗伯特•曼恩表示,尽管大多数坠机事件令人悲伤,被媒体头条大幅报道,但“对运营商的未来业务基本不会造成影响”。

也有少数例外,主要出现在那些“有迹象表明公司出现了系统性问题,或是失职”的情况。曼恩指出,瓦卢杰航空就是因为后一种情况走向了衰亡。

1996年,瓦卢杰航空592号航班起飞后不久就遭遇失火,坠毁于佛罗里达州大沼泽地,机上110人全部罹难。空难调查发现,瓦卢杰的外包商在飞机货舱内非法放置了氧气罐,从而导致了这场悲剧。曼恩表示:“这很讽刺,因为这甚至不是瓦卢杰的错,他们只是用了一个失职的供应商。”

尽管如此,瓦卢杰航空也无法动摇审查结果,打消悲剧事件产生的负面影响。美国联邦航空管理局对瓦卢杰所有飞机下了禁飞令,这家运营商最终精简机队后重新开始运营,但他们再也无法挽回客户群体,并最终与小公司穿越航空合并,如今一起化作了美国西南航空公司的一部分。

还有一个例子是马来西亚航空公司。该公司接连遭遇了2014年3月的MH370航班失联和7月的MH17在乌克兰坠机,乘客数量急剧下降。马来西亚政府在2014年8月将其私有化,试图恢复这家公司的财务健康。

从有关周二这起坠机事故的报道来看,导致德国之翼飞机坠毁的原因尚不清楚。曼恩指出,德国之翼的机组与汉莎航空其他机组一样,都由汉莎航空技术公司进行维护。这是航空业最大的维修公司之一。汉莎航空上一起致命空难发生在20年前,而德国之翼在本周二之前的安全记录堪称完美。

曼恩表示,汉莎航空是“一家高品质的公司”。其价值怎么夸张都不为过。他说,每位乘客都想要便宜的价格,但“有一样东西没人会拿来换钱,那就是安全。”



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