Why United Is Unhappy With Philippines Airlines’ Growth In The US

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United Airlines is looking to delay Philippine Airlines’ plans to expand to Seattle from Manila. Flights operated by the Philippines’ flag carrier are set to be added in May, but United wants to have its own flights to the Philippine capital secured first.

United Airlines Takeoff
United wants its own Manila additions to take off before Philippines Airlines’ plans get underway. Photo: United Airlines

Big request   

The Points Guy reports that United wants the United States Department of Transportation to defer the approval of Philippines Airlines’ proposal. The Pasay City-headquartered firm plans to add three weekly flights to the Pacific coast from Manila on its Airbus A350 aircraft.

According to a filing made on Monday, United is keen for the government body to hit pause on the move until United can receive the needed slots for its own operations.

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The airline is planning to add a second daily flight to Manila from the US organized territory of Guam. The operator shared that these plans have previously been blocked by Manila Airport.

Philippines Airlines Aircraft
Philippines Airlines is also planning to launch extra flights to Los Angeles. Photo: Philippines Airlines

Priorities in place

Since the US and the Philippines don’t have an open skies agreement, the regulator has to approve Philippines Airlines’ proposal. With the planned flights landing in a key US airport, United feels that it is beneficial for the country to have the Chicago-based carrier’s expansion plans considered.

“It is in the public interest to grant [Philippine Airlines’] application for additional authority to expand service only when United is able to expand service as well,” United said, as reported by The Points Guy.

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There has been an increase in demand for flights to Manila from the US. In 2018, there were less than five flights each day from to the country. However, last year, this number jumped to over six flights per day.

JFK and San Francisco are the two airports that have seen the greatest spikes. However, there is a sizeable population of Filipino Americans in Washington. Additionally, the state is across the Pacific. Therefore, there is room for extra capacity on this route.

Manila
The Manila metropolitan area holds a population of around 13 million people. Therefore, United will be keen to serve these potential passengers on flights to the US. Photo: Anton Zelenov via Wikimedia Commons

Matching demand

Currently, United serves nine flights a week to Manila. However, none of these are from US mainland. There is a daily flight from Guam and a twice-weekly operation from the fellow Pacific island of Palau.

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According to Travel Weekly Asia, there was a 15 percent growth in foreign arrivals to the Philippines last year. Altogether, around eight million travelers from other countries visited the nation in 2019.

With this upward trend of visits, it is no surprise as to why carriers are keen to increase flights from to and from the country’s capital city. United has been busy expanding at other international airports as of late and it will be eager to add more slots at Manila. 

Simple Flying reached out to United for comment on these reports that it seeks to block Philippine Airlines’ new Seattle flight. We will update the article with any further announcements.

Do you think that the United States Department of Transportation should consider United Airlines’ request? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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John

PAL operates a daily flight MNL-GUM and wants to go 9/week using their “low cost” subsidiary 2P, and 5J opening a route isn’t out of the question as well.

So UA being stonewalled from going double daily isn’t entirely removed from reality.

Vashonm

PAL is using bigger planes and UNITED doesn’t want to use bigger planes they just want more slots. MNL is at slot capacity so you have to use bigger planes.

Dale McRae

United should be granted access to the Philippines, can’t have a monopoly on the market

Gerardo Santos

UA flight to the Philippine is beneficial, most specially NYC-MNL-NYC.

Ely

Its not “Philippines Airlines”, its Philippine Airlines.

RD Rogel

Maybe American Airlines will enter the country & codeshare with PAL. This will pave the way for PAL to join Oneworld Alliance.

joe

United got rights to fly to MNL when they purchased the Pan Am routes. They quit flying there because there was no profit in it. They even tried using MNL as a freighter hub. Still no profit. The only reason they are flying into MNL now is because they obtained the route in the Continental-United merger.

Joe

United obtained right to fly to MNL when they bought the Pan Am routes. They quit flying there because of lack of profit. They even tried using MNL as a freighter hub. Still no profit. The only reason they fly to MNL now is because they obtained the route in the CO-UA merger.

Joe McCoy

UA could not make a profit in MNL.

Angie M..Seattle, WA

Just about time PAL be given slot from and to Seattle. We have been waiting for PAL to come along.

Angie M..

Just about time PAL be given slot from and to Seattle. We have been waiting for PAL to come along.

Robb

United should just fly to crk I stead of mnl

Malcolm

Thank you United for stopping Philippines Airlines direct flights monopoly. its about time. Canadians cant wait togo to Seattle to flyto Manila for cheaper monopoly airfare .

David Riach

MNL NAIA is at or near capacity.
Clark to the north appears to have plenty capacity. If you’re not wanting only to be in Manila it’s worth considering.
Plans for a major ewn airport in the province of Bulacan, to the north of Manila are awaiting formal approval.

David Riach

MNL NAIA is at or near capacity.
Clark to the north appears to have plenty capacity. If you’re not wanting only to be in Manila it’s worth considering.
Plans for a major new airport in the province of Bulacan, to the north of Manila are awaiting formal approval.

Joey

The US carriers have little chances on making non-stop mainland US-Manila flights profitable. Even Hawaiian Airlines have to drop their Manila to Honolulu flights a few years ago because of this. Not only they have to contend with Philippine Airlines’ non-stop flights, but also fares to North America via East Asian carriers like Korean Air, Asiana, China Airlines, EVA Air and mainland Chinese airlines provide sometimes ridiculously cheap fares on those routes from Manila. It is not uncommon to see roundtrip airfares from Manila to the West Coast at $500 and East Coast at $600.

Joseph boudreaux

No Philippines sor lines are great jets o was not happy with United airlines I flew in June 2019.did not like United .

Ijaz

No. It is not a legitimate and logical request.

Philip Lara

Yes the government should block PAL. As a Filipino I believe we should have more option to the Philippines.

Elvia A. Aviles

United serves the Asian market more than any other 🇺🇸 American carrier. Therefore, UAL can offer more connections to the Philippine market. Consequently, the department of transfer should considered UAL request.