Philippine Airlines said Monday it is seeking to stop Los Angeles World Airports from transferring its assigned gates to the new West Gates at Los Angeles International Airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal.
The airline said the switch would triple the travel time from curb to gate and disrupt its customers’ travel experience but an airport official said it would benefit passengers.
“The West Gates at Tom Bradley International Terminal make up a brand new 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,” according to a statement from Los Angeles World Airports.
The addition of the West Gates will reduce the number of flights operating 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, the statement said.
Jose Perez de Tagle, vice president of corporate communications for Philippine Airlines, called the move to the West Gates a hardship to its passengers.
“Our trials show that walking time will increase by 20 minutes as travelers have to cross the tarmac through an underground tunnel to reach the” West Gates, which recently opened as part of the airport’s expansion.
The West Gates are connected with the Tom Bradley International Terminal via a pedestrian tunnel that provides direct access to the new gate areas.
In addition to moving walkways and standard guest transportation services airlines provide for passengers who need special accommodations, the airport has also begun a new courtesy shuttle providing electric carts to guests who choose to ride rather than use the moving walkways or walk, the statement said.
The Los Angeles World Airports notified the airline that its gate would be transferred on June 15, according to Philippine Airlines.
The airline is appealing for a permanent reversal of the gate transfer and is working with airport and city officials to get an extension beyond June 15 during the appeal process.
“Even as the pandemic raged, we sustained our vital air links to the Fil-Am community,” Perez de Tagle said. “PAL was the biggest Asian carrier in terms of passengers to and from LAX from July 2020 to March this year.”
According to the airline, Los Angeles has over 600,000 Filippino Americans, with more Filipinos living in Los Angeles than anywhere outside of Manila, and PAL is the only carrier that offers nonstop flights from Manila to Los Angeles.
The airline also said about one-third of its passengers are 59 years old and over, and 28% of that group requests wheelchairs and may have a more difficult time getting to the new gate.
“We want to ensure that our passengers get the best possible experience when they travel on our nonstop flights to Manila. We shall persevere in rallying for their cause and welfare,” the airline said in a statement.
PAL offers flights from Manila to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and New York.