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Outbreak takes a toll on peak season earnings of carriers

2020-2-13 12:34

 

More measures soon for companies to optimize capacity, plan reorganization

The cancellation of many international and domestic flights in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak during and after the Spring Festival holiday has resulted in a difficult time for carriers as it came in the middle of a peak travel season.

On Feb 10, the first day of going back to work after an extended holiday for many companies, 11,485 domestic flights were canceled out of about 15,000 planned flights operated by Chinese mainland airlines, said VariFlight, one of China's top air-data services firms.

The sharply falling demand since Jan 23 saw the total number of operating domestic commercial flights start to drop. On Feb 5, 70 percent of domestic flights were canceled. On Feb 8, domestic flights transported 270,000 people, down 84.6 percent year-on-year, the data showed.

Feng Zhenglin, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said on Tuesday the government will focus on the operational risks to the industry, carry out further measures to cut taxes and fees, support carriers to optimize their capacity, and plan reorganization based on demand.

Aviation industry analyst Lin Zhijie said the civil aviation industry will suffer a loss, which is a rare occurrence during the Spring Festival transportation period. The threat to the industry is expected to be far greater than that of the SARS epidemic in 2003 because China is playing an increasingly important role in the international air travel market. "The outbreak of SARS occurred in March, a relatively slack travel season. This time, airlines will experience a more significant loss as they have lost the demand during the Spring Festival period. Besides, the novel coronavirus has a higher infectivity and it has a great impact on market confidence," he said.

Lower travel demand from SARS epidemic caused the aviation sector in China to lose 2.8 billion yuan ($400 million) for the whole year, as about one fifth of aircraft stopped flying daily on average. It was the largest overall loss besides two global economic crises in 2008 and 1998, according to industry reports.

Now, China has become the largest passenger source country for most Asia-Pacific countries. China operates more than 3,800 aircraft in total, which is five times higher than in 2003.

Last week, Hainan Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Tianjin Airlines and Kunming Airlines canceled over 80 percent of their flights. Some smaller carriers canceled more than 90 percent or nearly all of their flights, but more flights are resuming with people going back to work.

"For most Chinese carriers, the asset liability ratio has been over 70 percent. The large number of flight cancellations and refund of passengers' tickets make them more difficult for airlines. They have little cash inflows so they have to cut costs and strive for support from the government," Lin said.

"For many small-and medium-sized airlines, they even face a survival crisis. The most important thing for airlines now is to manage their cash flow well."

To help airlines, the government has announced it would waive payment by the airlines to the civil aviation development fund. Waiving the payments will last until the epidemic is over.

Lin added that later in the crisis, airlines should operate some flights that can bring in revenues, instead of canceling too many flights. They may also change the pre-sale period of domestic flights from one month to about six to eight months ahead, thus increasing their cash flows. Airlines can also consider selling their aircraft to banks, and then lease the aircraft for operation.

As the number of people infected with the virus around the world grows, airlines worldwide have canceled, cut or suspended their flights to China until as late as March. European and US airlines largely make up that list.

The coronavirus outbreak in China could cause a "sizeable disruption" to passenger traffic, especially for operators in the Asia-Pacific region. An analysis of past epidemics such as SARS, the avian flu, and MERS indicated that "any effect on air transport would be temporary," the International Air Transport Association said.

The International Civil Aviation Organization last week calculated the potential impact of the novel coronavirus on the Chinese aviation market for the first quarter of 2020.

If the seat capacity reduction rate remained the same in February and March, it would mean a passenger traffic decline of 16.4 million from January to the end of March.

If the seat capacity reduction added another 7 to 10 percent in March from February, the passenger traffic would drop 19.6 million in total. The potential revenue loss for airlines could reach $4.9 billion, ICAO said.

It also estimated the potential economic loss of Chinese tourism income due to the contagion. Meanwhile, Thailand, Japan, the United States, France and Australia, respectively, will be suffering the most severe impact, and their total potential tourism income loss could reach $24 billion.

 

更多措施即将为公司优化产能、计划重组


随着新型冠状病毒在春节期间和之后的爆发,许多国际和国内航班被取消,这给航空公司带来了困难,因为此时正值旅游旺季。


中国最大的航空数据服务公司之一VariFlight表示,2月10日,也就是许多公司长假后重返工作岗位的第一天,中国大陆航空公司计划运营的约1.5万个航班中,有11485个国内航班被取消。


自1月23日以来需求急剧下降,国内商业航班的运营总量开始下降。2月5日,70%的国内航班被取消。数据显示,2月8日,国内航班运送旅客27万人,同比下降84.6%。


中国民用航空局局长冯正林周二表示,政府将重点关注行业运营风险,采取进一步措施减税降费,支持航空公司优化运力,并根据需求规划重组。


航空业分析师林志杰表示,民航业将出现亏损,这在春运期间很少见。由于中国在国际航空旅行市场上扮演着越来越重要的角色,航空业面临的威胁预计将远远大于2003年非典疫情。“沙士爆发于三月,是一个旅游淡季。这一次,航空公司将经历更大的损失,因为他们失去了春节期间的需求。此外,这种新型冠状病毒的传染性更强,对市场信心有很大影响,”他说。


SARS疫情导致的旅游需求下降导致中国航空业全年亏损28亿元人民币(4亿美元),平均约五分之一的飞机停飞。行业报告显示,这是2008年和1998年两场全球经济危机以来最大的整体损失。


目前,中国已成为大多数亚太国家最大的客源国。中国目前共有3800多架飞机,是2003年的5倍。


上周,海南航空、深圳航空、天津航空和昆明航空取消了80%以上的航班。一些规模较小的航空公司取消了90%以上或几乎全部的航班,但随着人们重新上班,更多的航班正在恢复。


“对于大多数中国航空公司来说,资产负债率已经超过了70%。大量的航班取消和退票使得航空公司更加困难。他们几乎没有现金流入,所以他们不得不削减成本,争取政府的支持。”


“对于许多中小航空公司来说,他们甚至面临生存危机。对航空公司来说,现在最重要的是管理好现金流。”


为了帮助航空公司,政府宣布将免除航空公司向民用航空发展基金支付的费用。免除付款将持续到疫情结束。


林补充说,危机过后,航空公司应该运营一些能够带来收入的航班,而不是取消太多航班。它们还可能将国内航班的预售期从一个月提前至大约6个月至8个月,从而增加现金流。航空公司也可以考虑将飞机卖给银行,然后租赁飞机用于运营。


随着世界各地感染h7n9禽流感病毒的人数不断增加,世界各地的航空公司已经取消、削减或暂停飞往中国的航班,直到3月份。欧洲和美国的航空公司基本上都在这个名单上。


中国爆发的冠状病毒疫情可能会对客运交通造成“大规模中断”,尤其是对亚太地区的运营商而言。国际航空运输协会(International air transport Association)表示,对过去非典(SARS)、禽流感和中东呼吸综合征(MERS)等流行病的分析表明,“对航空运输的任何影响都将是暂时的”。


国际民用航空组织(International Civil Aviation Organization)上周计算了这种新型冠状病毒在2020年第一季度对中国航空市场的潜在影响。


如果2月和3月的运力削减率保持不变,那么从1月到3月底,客运量将减少1640万人次。


如果3月份的客座率比2月份再下降7 - 10%,客运量将减少1960万人次。国际民航组织表示,航空公司的潜在收入损失可能达到49亿美元。

 

它还估计了中国旅游业收入可能因危机蔓延而遭受的经济损失。与此同时,泰国、日本、美国、法国和澳大利亚将受到最严重的影响,它们的旅游收入损失总额可能达到240亿美元。

 

(还是有人乘飞机不戴口罩,还一脸无所谓的样子,这样的人真的很讨厌。)

 

原作者: Zhu Wenqian 来自: china daily