Philippine Airlines is set to launch new routes to the United States, adding extra flights to Los Angeles and its first flights to Seattle.
The carrier will set off from Cebu to Los Angles three times a week starting 2 May 2020, using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and departing from both locations on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Seattle will be the fifth US destination the Philippines airline has added to its roster, with the carrier already flying to Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.
Also in May 2020, Philippine Airlines is commencing nonstop flights between Manila and Seattle. These services will operate three times a week from both cities, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Sundays using A350-900XWB aircraft.
Philippines Airline’s ramp-up of services into the United States in recent years has caught people’s attention. That the airline puts so much time and energy into the market is unsurprising given the historically close ties between the two countries. But US airlines are not entirely delighted at the easy ride Philippine Airlines is getting when it comes to access to the United States.
In contrast, access to Ninoy Aquino International is a constant problem for US airlines. There are acute slot and infrastructure constraints at the airport. In a recent submission to the US Department of Transport, United Airlines said: “While United has been unable to execute its Manila growth plans, Philippine carriers have increased capacity to the US. Given these facts, United Airlines believes that the slot and airport access challenges it has experienced at Manila must be rectified before the Department approves the APC application [regarding access to Guam].”
While Philippine Airlines is growing a lot when it comes to services into the USA, US carriers, including but not restricted to United Airlines, are being inhibited when it comes to access to Manila. And while Philippine Airlines is operating within the terms of the bilateral air services agreement between the two countries, airlines like United believe Philippine Airlines is contravening the spirit of the agreement when it comes to equity of access.
That said, given no US carriers fly nonstop to Manila from the US mainland, could it be a case of US carriers complaining about an issue that doesn’t exist? It’s akin to a football player crying foul over a game in which he chooses not to play in. Could it be that Philippine Airlines is simply exploiting a market the US carriers are choosing not to directly compete in?