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United Airlines protests PAL Express and PAL codeshare

United Airlines has protested plans for a PAL Express codeshare with Philippine Airlines on scheduled flights between Manila and Guam, according to a document published by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) on 18 November.

The request for a codeshare was submitted to the DOT on 6 November by PAL Express’ parent company Air Philippines Corporation (APC). PAL Express requested code-sharing approval for the flights from 5 March 2020.

The company claims the codeshare is in the public interest and will promote travel and tourism to the island. “Approval will…enhance competition and improve the options available to travelers and shippers seeking service between the Philippines and Guam.”

“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 US airline writes in the filing.

United currently operates one daily direct flight between the US territory in the Pacific Ocean and the Philippine capital, and would like to add another daily connection. However, it says it has been denied “slots and other airport infrastructure necessary for its additional flight plans.”

“While United has been unable to execute its Manila growth plans, Philippine carriers have increased capacity to the US,” the airline says. It adds that the Philippine flag carrier has increased US-Manila flights by 25%, seats by 30%, and available seat miles by 35%. PAL launched New York-to-Manila direct service in late 2018 and increased the service to daily during the 2019 peak summer season. In addition, it increased capacity on its Los Angeles-Manila and San Francisco-Manila routes.

“Given these facts, United believes that the slot and airport access challenges it has experienced at Manila must be rectified before the Department approves the APC application,” United says.

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