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Philippine Airlines protests shift of gates at Los Angeles Airport

Aviation Updates Philippines – Philippine Airlines announced that despite launching a protest, it has been “forced” to shift its flights arriving and departing at Los Angeles to new building at the airport. 

Photo from Philippine Airlines

The airline announced that Philippine Airlines operated flights at Los Angeles International Airport will be shifted from the main building of the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) to the new Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC) effective June 1.

Built as a separate facility, the MSC is a separate building from the main terminal connected through an underground tunnel. Philippine Airlines has advised passengers to allocate 20 minutes of time to access the MSC from the main terminal building. Travelers who need special assistance will be able to use terminal transfer vehicles to transit between the two buildings. The facility is also referred to as the West Gates.

In addition, Philippine Airlines noted the MSC has limited shopping and dining options.

While the gates will be at the MSC, check-in, baggage claim, and the clearance of immigration and customs will be at the main TBIT building.

The Midfield Satellite Concourse at Los Angeles Airport was built at a cost of around USD $1.2 billion. Capable of accommodating around 12 narrow and wide-body aircraft, it is part of the airport's future modernization and expansion plans. While the airport operator Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) stated it won't affect the total number of passengers or the frequency of flights, the building will help accommodate flights as the airport continues work on its modernization projects that may require the closure of existing gates.

As it announced the shift, the Manila-based airline announced it has appealed to the airport authority to reconsider moving the airline's flights from the MSC to the TBIT.

In a release, the airline stated: “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that the Airport’s decision may cause you. PAL has appealed urgently to the airport authority to reconsider the decision to move PAL flights from the TBIT to the MSC; PAL also is seeking assistance from city officials. We have raised the important consideration that a large number of our Filipino-American and visiting Filipino travelers are senior citizens or persons with disability who would be better served if the boarding gates are located closer to the check-in and security areas. We will continue to pursue all available remedies in the hope that our flights will be retained at the original gates of the main TBIT concourse for the well-being and convenience of our valued passengers.”

Response from LAX

In response to the statements regarding the change in gates by Philippine Airlines, LAWA Director of Public Relations Heath Montgomery replied to a request for remarks from Flights in Asia. He first emphasized the relationship the airport has with Philippine Airlines starting: “Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) strongly values its longstanding relationship with Philippine Airlines and the Filipino residents of and visitors to Los Angeles, and we look forward to providing an outstanding guest experience for Philippine Airlines passengers at LAX for many years to come.”

Montgomery further added: “The West Gates at Tom Bradley International Terminal make up a brand new a state-of-the-art facility with passenger amenities and services that will provide an excellent guest experience for passengers of the many international and domestic airlines that will operate there. Absent the new West Gates at Tom Bradley, it would be necessary for more flights to operate at the Remote Gates, to which Philippine Airlines flights routinely were assigned prior to COVID-19, and which provide a notably inferior guest experience and require busing of passengers.”

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