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国境重新开放,美国机票价格暴涨

国境重新开放,美国机票价格暴涨

Danielle Bernabe 2021年08月03日
随着变异病毒持续扩散,航空公司也很难预测趋势。

也许有人已经发现,虽然2020年需求几乎降至冰点,票价低得令人难以置信,但自那之后机票价格一直在回升。随着复苏启动,每天有200万乘客接受美国运输安全管理局(TSA)检查,而去年约同一时间,每天接受TSA检查的乘客仅为75万。由于航空业反弹迅速,航空公司飞机、飞行员和机组人员复工几乎跟不上步伐,而且成本累积的压力也在上升。新冠疫情期间,全球航空业债务累计超过1万亿美元。咨询公司麦肯锡(McKinsey & Co.)的行业顾问表示,多家航空公司曾借入巨额资金以维持运营,应付高昂的现金消耗。据估计,假定债务偿还期限为10年的话,夏季需求强劲以及航空公司偿债压力可能导致机票价格上涨约3%。

除了债务压力巨大,当前原油价格约为每桶75美元,也比去年同期上涨50%。对于大型航空公司来说,燃油约占成本三分之一。“利润率原本已经很低,所以即便航空公司之前能实现盈利,油价上涨后也很难持续,当然疫情也可能导致亏损,”哥伦比亚商学院(Columbia Business School)经济学教授杰夫•赫勒(Geoff Heal)说。由于疫情爆发,航空公司解雇了约9万名员工,劳动力成本也有所上升。重新聘用时涨薪也会加重公司负担。

此外,相较2019年减少70%的商务旅行造成了巨大的收入缺口。高端商务舱票价变化不大,但购买的乘客很少,也影响了一些低价舱位。“想想疫情爆发前,买机票和住酒店花钱最多的是哪些人,通常都是商务旅行者,”麦肯锡合伙人兼旅游业专家维克•克里希南(Vik Krishnan)说。他还表示,商务旅客往往会临时买票,接近出发才下单,一般是票价最贵的时候。

然而当前的挑战是商务旅行恢复缓慢,大部分是休闲旅客。因此,航空公司无法获得对行业至关重要的业务收入。“行业只能依靠对价格更敏感的休闲旅行者,也就是说航空公司、酒店和行业其他参与方很难自由定价,”克里希南说。

随着变异病毒持续扩散,航空公司也很难预测趋势。过去各公司使用非常复杂的需求优化和预测系统,根据历史趋势判断未来的需求。“现实情况不出所料,新冠疫情危机把所有模型都扔出了窗外,”克里希南解释道。因此在当前环境下,航空公司不得不想出新方式部署运力并制定价格。现在各公司都在找旅游活跃的地方。美国就是如此,国家公园和自然风光景点比较受欢迎。

“想去这些地方玩,就得多付些钱,”克里希南说。他补充说,各景点往返机票价格并不对称。举例来说,旧金山空中航线恢复情况远比不上蒙大拿的波兹曼,一天中某些时段,想为降落的飞机安排登机口都很困难。

很多人通常考虑去欧洲或其他地方度假,现在由于担心德尔塔变异病毒,也转而考虑美国国内市场。国际航空运输协会(IATA)5月的一份报告中称,病毒发展不可控的局面最终将限制未来的需求和整体复苏。国内机票价格上涨,国境封闭和交通不便导致需求减少,最终拖累国际机票价格下跌。然而一份类似报告中显示,旅行者对未来仍然乐观且充满渴望,只是受疫情影响变得更为谨慎。

不管怎样,消费者纷纷出行,也希望旅行。“跟我们交谈的航空公司首席财务官都表示,看到消费者情绪没太受影响,感觉非常兴奋。换句话说,人们仍然想出行,”克里希南说。“然而更清醒的思考是,疫情期间公司都背上了沉重的财务负担,未来很多年要慢慢还债。偿债可能一直持续到2030年,乃至更久。”(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

也许有人已经发现,虽然2020年需求几乎降至冰点,票价低得令人难以置信,但自那之后机票价格一直在回升。随着复苏启动,每天有200万乘客接受美国运输安全管理局(TSA)检查,而去年约同一时间,每天接受TSA检查的乘客仅为75万。由于航空业反弹迅速,航空公司飞机、飞行员和机组人员复工几乎跟不上步伐,而且成本累积的压力也在上升。新冠疫情期间,全球航空业债务累计超过1万亿美元。咨询公司麦肯锡(McKinsey & Co.)的行业顾问表示,多家航空公司曾借入巨额资金以维持运营,应付高昂的现金消耗。据估计,假定债务偿还期限为10年的话,夏季需求强劲以及航空公司偿债压力可能导致机票价格上涨约3%。

除了债务压力巨大,当前原油价格约为每桶75美元,也比去年同期上涨50%。对于大型航空公司来说,燃油约占成本三分之一。“利润率原本已经很低,所以即便航空公司之前能实现盈利,油价上涨后也很难持续,当然疫情也可能导致亏损,”哥伦比亚商学院(Columbia Business School)经济学教授杰夫•赫勒(Geoff Heal)说。由于疫情爆发,航空公司解雇了约9万名员工,劳动力成本也有所上升。重新聘用时涨薪也会加重公司负担。

此外,相较2019年减少70%的商务旅行造成了巨大的收入缺口。高端商务舱票价变化不大,但购买的乘客很少,也影响了一些低价舱位。“想想疫情爆发前,买机票和住酒店花钱最多的是哪些人,通常都是商务旅行者,”麦肯锡合伙人兼旅游业专家维克•克里希南(Vik Krishnan)说。他还表示,商务旅客往往会临时买票,接近出发才下单,一般是票价最贵的时候。

然而当前的挑战是商务旅行恢复缓慢,大部分是休闲旅客。因此,航空公司无法获得对行业至关重要的业务收入。“行业只能依靠对价格更敏感的休闲旅行者,也就是说航空公司、酒店和行业其他参与方很难自由定价,”克里希南说。

随着变异病毒持续扩散,航空公司也很难预测趋势。过去各公司使用非常复杂的需求优化和预测系统,根据历史趋势判断未来的需求。“现实情况不出所料,新冠疫情危机把所有模型都扔出了窗外,”克里希南解释道。因此在当前环境下,航空公司不得不想出新方式部署运力并制定价格。现在各公司都在找旅游活跃的地方。美国就是如此,国家公园和自然风光景点比较受欢迎。

“想去这些地方玩,就得多付些钱,”克里希南说。他补充说,各景点往返机票价格并不对称。举例来说,旧金山空中航线恢复情况远比不上蒙大拿的波兹曼,一天中某些时段,想为降落的飞机安排登机口都很困难。

很多人通常考虑去欧洲或其他地方度假,现在由于担心德尔塔变异病毒,也转而考虑美国国内市场。国际航空运输协会(IATA)5月的一份报告中称,病毒发展不可控的局面最终将限制未来的需求和整体复苏。国内机票价格上涨,国境封闭和交通不便导致需求减少,最终拖累国际机票价格下跌。然而一份类似报告中显示,旅行者对未来仍然乐观且充满渴望,只是受疫情影响变得更为谨慎。

不管怎样,消费者纷纷出行,也希望旅行。“跟我们交谈的航空公司首席财务官都表示,看到消费者情绪没太受影响,感觉非常兴奋。换句话说,人们仍然想出行,”克里希南说。“然而更清醒的思考是,疫情期间公司都背上了沉重的财务负担,未来很多年要慢慢还债。偿债可能一直持续到2030年,乃至更久。”(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

Perhaps you've noticed prices for flights have risen from 2020 when the demand was next to nothing, and fares were incredibly low. As recovery begins with two million passengers going through TSA screenings daily—compared to last year's 750,000 around the same time—the current surge is outpacing aviation's efforts to restore aircraft, pilots, and crew, and with it, the strain of accumulating costs. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline industry accrued more than $1 trillion in debt globally. Many airlines borrowed huge sums of money to stay afloat and cope with high cash burn rates, according to industry consultants at McKinsey & Co. Summer demand and recouping this debt could, according to estimates, amount to a rise in ticket prices of about 3%, assuming a ten-year repayment window for the additional debt taken on.

Aside from the debt, crude oil is currently around $75 a barrel, a 50% increase from this time last year. For a major airline, fuel makes up about one-third of all costs. "With profit margins naturally low, that's enough to make them unprofitable, even if they were profitable before, which they probably weren't because of the pandemic," says Geoff Heal, professor of economics at Columbia Business School. Labor costs have also increased after companies laid off about 90,000 employees because of the pandemic. Rehiring at higher salaries adds to the burden.

Additionally, the loss of business travel, which decreased around 70% from 2019, created a massive revenue gap. High-end business class fares haven't changed much, but they're also not being purchased, impacting some low-fare categories. "If we think about who historically—before COVID—paid more to fly or stay in hotels, it typically used to be business travelers," says Vik Krishnan, McKinsey partner and travel industry expert, also stating that category customers also purchase tickets at a whim and close to departure dates when fares are typically at their highest.

The challenge is that business travel is slowly returning, whereas leisure is making up most of the current passengers. Consequently, airlines cannot capture the business revenue significant to all sectors of hospitality. "Having to rely primarily on leisure travelers who genuinely tend to be a little bit more price sensitive has meant that the airlines, hotels, and other players in the ecosystem do not have unlimited freedom to charge whatever they want," says Krishnan.

With variants on the rise, it’s also difficult for airlines to predict trends. In the past, they used very sophisticated demand optimization and forecasting systems that use historic trends to determine what future demand might be. "The reality is that, as is no surprise, the COVID-19 crisis has taken all of those models and essentially thrown them out the window," Krishnan explains. And so, airlines have had to come up with relatively new ways of deploying capacity as well as price in this environment. Right now, they're looking at localized hotspots where travel is currently strong. This is seen domestically, specifically to national parks and nature-focused destinations.

"You should expect to pay pretty high prices to be able to go these places," says Krishnan, adding those prices are asymmetric by destination. "For instance, air traffic recovery in San Francisco is nowhere near as robust as it's been in Bozeman, Montana, where during certain times of the day it's hard to find parking at gates to accommodate all the airplanes that want to go there."

People who typically consider a vacation in Europe or other international locations are instead focusing on the domestic market because, in part, of the uncertainty from the Delta variant. In a May report from International Air Transport Association (IATA), the unpredictable nature of this ultimately places a restraint on future demand and overall recovery. Prices domestically are up, whereas internationally they are lower due to closed borders and less accessibility. Hence, less demand. However, in a similar report, it shows travelers remain optimistic and eager, but with caution based on COVID’s impact.

Regardless, consumers are traveling and want to travel. "Every airline CFO we've spoken to is extremely excited by the fact that consumer sentiment hasn't depressed. In other words, people still want to travel," says Krishnan. "The more sobering reflection, however, is we have taken on a significant amount of financial burden during this pandemic that we're going to have to repay for years. Potentially well into 2030 and beyond."

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