The Operation of International Airlines

  International airlines have rediscovered the business traveler, the man or woman who regularly jets from country to country as part of the job. This does not necessarily mean that airlines ever abandoned their business travelers. Instead, companies like Lufthansa and Swissair1 would right argue that they have always catered best for the executive class passengers. But many airlines could be accused of concentrating too heavily in the recent past on attracting passengers by volume, often at the expense of the regular traveler. Too often, they have seemed geared for quantity rather than quality.

  Operating a major airline is essentially a matter of finding the right mix of passengers. The airlines need to fill up the back end of their wide-bodied jets with low fare passengers, without forgetting that the front end should be filled with people who pay substantially more for their tickets.

  It is no coincidence that the two major airline bankruptcies were among the companies specializing in cheap flights. But low fares require consistently full aircraft to make flights economically viable, and in the recent recession the volume of traffic has not grown. Equally the large number of airlines jostling for the available passengers has created a huge excess of capacity. The net result of excess capacity and cut-throat competition driving down fares had been to push some airlines into collapse and leave many others hovering on the brink2.

  Against this grim background, it is no surprise that airlines are turning increasingly towards the business travelers to improve their rates of return, They have invested much time and effort to establish exactly what the executive demands for sitting apart from the tourists.

  High on the list of priorities is punctuality; an executive's time is money. In-flight service is another area where the airlines are jostling for the executive's attention. The free drinks and headsets and better food are all part of the lure.

  Another development has been the accent of seating arrangements. Regular travelers have become well versed in the debate about seat pitch--the amount of room between each passenger. And first-class passengers are now offered sleeperette seats, which, for long journeys, make it possible to snatch a proper night's sleep. Sleeperettes have proved so popular that they will soon become universal in the front end of most aircraft.

  The airlines are also trying to improve things on the ground. Executive lounges are commonplace and intended to make the inevitable waiting between flights a little more bearable. Luggage handling is being improved. Regrettably, there is little the airlines can do to speed up the boring immigration and Customs process, which manages to upset and frustrate passengers of all classes in every continent.

  Although it is the airlines' intention to attract executive passengers from their rivals, the airlines themselves would nonetheless like to change one bad habit of this kind of traveler--the expensive habit of booking a flight and then failing to turn up. The practice is particularly widespread in Europe, where businessmen frequently book return journeys home one on several flights.

  词汇:

  coincidence 巧合 jostle 争抢

  cut-throat 你死我活的 headset 头戴式耳机

  accent 强调,重视 versed 熟练的,知晓的

  pitch 空间,位置 sleeperette 可卧座位

  注释:

  1.Lufthansa and Swissair :(德国)汉莎航空公司和瑞士航空公司

  2.… push some airlines into collapse and leave many others hovering on the brink. :……迫使一些航空公司倒闭,把许多别的公司推到倒闭的边缘。

  练习:

  1. According to the passage, in operating airlines it is essential to

  A) keep in mind the need of the executives only.

  B) satisfy the need of the low fare passengers at the expense of the executives.

  C) try to attract as many passengers as possible by reducing fares.

  D) cater to the need of passengers sitting at both ends of the jets.

  2. The following are all mentioned as reasons why the airlines are having a hard time EXCEPT that

  A) the tourist industry is experiencing an all-time low.

  B) there is no increase in the number of passengers.

  C) there are more seats on the planes than needed.

  D) the competition between airlines is strong.

  3. The improvements the airlines attempt at include all the following EXCEPT

  A) making their seats more comfortable.

  B) providing better food during flights.

  C) showing more movies during the long flights.

  D) offering sleeperettes to first-class passengers.

  4. There is not much the airlines can do when it comes to

  A) making sure the departures are not delayed.

  B) the efficient handling of luggage.

  C) speeding up customs procedure.

  D) the improvement of the condition of waiting lounges.

  5. Which of the following is a bad habit of the executive passengers that frustrates the airlines?

  A) They do not book their seats in advance.

  B) They do not sit on the seats they are supposed to take.

  C) They do not travel on the flight they have booked.

  D) They do not pay in advance for the seats they book.

[page]

  答案与题解:

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