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United Airlines protests Philippine Airlines' planned Seattle flights

Aviation Updates Philippines – U.S. carrier United Airlines is looking to put a stop to Philippine Airlines' plans to launch new flights to Seattle until it can add more flights to Manila.
UNITED'S OBJECTION. United Airlines has filed a request to defer the approval of Philippine Airlines' proposed Manila-Seattle flights. Photo by Bill Abbott.
According to a report by The Points Guy, the Chicago-based carrier filed a request with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to defer the approval of Philippine Airlines' proposed Manila-Seattle flights. Philippine Airlines intends to start thrice-weekly Manila-Seattle and Seattle-Manila flights in May 2020 using its Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

The United States and the Philippines currently do not have an open skies agreement, which means that Philippine Airlines' new flights to Seattle would require the USDOT's approval first.

In its filing, United mentioned that it wants to secure additional slots so its can add a second daily flight to Manila from Guam. United added that its requests for more slots have been previously denied by airport authorities in Manila, even though Philippine Airlines has successfully added more flights to the US in 2019.

"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.

Last year, Philippine Airlines flights to the U.S. jumped to an average of more than six flights per day, with San Francisco and New York-JFK seeing the most increases. In 2018, the airline operated just less than five flights to the U.S. per day.

United, meanwhile, currently operates seven weekly flights from Guam to Manila, as well as two weekly flights from Koror, Palau to Manila.

United's move to block Philippine Airlines' expansion into Seattle comes just a few months after United protested against plans for a codeshare agreement between Philippine Airlines and PAL Express on flights between Manila and Guam.

Last November, Air Philippines Corp. (APC), the parent company of PAL Express, submitted a request to allow it to display Philippine Airlines' designator code for its planned twice-weekly flights between Manila and Guam beginning March 2020.

United, however, asked the USDOT to "defer action" on this request.

"While United is not opposed in principle to APC's requested authority, United objects to the application to the extent it seeks benefits that are currently being denied to United and its customer base," the airline said.

Though the USDOT's offical decision on this matter is unknown, Routes Online reported in January 2020 that the planned flights to Guam to be operated by PAL Express has been removed from Philippine Airlines' flight timetable.

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