By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Philippine Airlines’ plan to codeshare partnership with American Airlines to ramp up service to Guam and boost its presence in the United States remains on hold due to United Airlines' pending protest.
“Talks are still ongoing. Nothing is finalized yet,’” said Israel Fontanilla, area manager for PAL.
In a joint application filed in 2019 with the U.S. Department of Transportation, American Airlines proposed to put its code on several routes operated by Philippine Airlines.
“Having more codeshare partners builds a wider network,” Fontanilla said.
The proposed codeshare agreement would apply to Manila-Honolulu, Manila-Guam, Manila-Tokyo, Cebu-Tokyo routes.
In return, Philippine Airlines will add its flight code on American Airlines' flights from Los Angeles to eight cities in North America including Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando and Washington D.C.
Philippine Airlines has proposed to operate its low-cost subsidiary, PAL Express, on Guam, hoping to bring more flights that would facilitate connecting passengers in the region to book PAL.
The proposed PAL Express service was supposed to begin in March 2020, but United has continued to block its competitors' proposed codeshare agreement.
“It will somehow limit our capacity,” Fontanilla said of United’s move. “But we will continue to push for the agreement for us to reach our goal.”
Philippine Airlines currently operates daily flights between Manila and Guam, flying Airbus 321 with a 168-seat capacity.
In a brief filed in February this year, United reiterated its previous appeal for DOT to defer action on PAL and American Airlines’ joint application for codeshares pending resolution of United’s own ongoing slot access issues at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
United’s protest was related to a nearly four-year-old complaint about what it described as “unfair treatment” in Manila.
United said it has been denied slots at "usable times" at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, where it said it has not received any ground infrastructure support for its operations.