Philippine Airlines (PAL) has urged the US Department of Transport (DOT) to expedite its application to launch a Manila-Seattle service.
This comes after United Airlines appealed to the same department to delay PAL’s request, until the US carrier gains commercially viable slots at Manila Ninoy Aquino International airport (NAIA).
PAL had intended to start a thrice-weekly Manila-Seattle service by 3 May, according to an application made to the DOT on 27 January and seen by Cirium. It also has the support of the Port of Seattle, which owns and operates Seattle-Tacoma International airport.
In a letter dated 10 February, United explained that it has not been able to gain “commercially viable slots and necessary airport infrastructure” needed to add another daily Guam-Manila frequency.
Although the Star Alliance member was not opposed to PAL’s application to start the Seattle service, it highlighted that PAL had managed to start nonstop Manila-New York, and raise frequencies on flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco unhindered.
To that, PAL emphasised that NAIA is a slot-coordinated airport, where the process is managed by a third-party slot coordinator while terminal access is handled by the Manila International Airport Authority. It also noted of United’s attempts to “hold hostage beneficial first nonstop service between Seattle and Manila,” in its response to United comments, dated 18 February.
Since then, there has been no further updates on the route application at the regulations.gov website managed by the US government.
The disagreement between PAL and United has been brewing since November 2019, when United objected to a request made by PAL Express to codeshare on PAL-operated Manila-Guam flights. Similarly, United raised the issue of not being able to expand its Guam-Manila service.
Cirium schedules data shows that United flies between Manila and Guam nine-times weekly. PAL and PAL Express also operate the route with the same frequency as United.
There are currently no connections between Manila and Seattle.
Philippine Airlines’ website has not made any mention of starting the Seattle service. The carrier has not responded to Cirium’s requests for comments on its plans for the Seattle service, or on United’s objections to the Seattle flights and the codeshare.