Philippine Airlines said Monday it is seeking to stop the Los Angeles World Airports from transferring its assigned gates to LAX’s Midfield Satellite Concourse, which the airline said would triple the travel time from curb to gate and disrupt its customers’ travel experience.
“More Filipinos live in Los Angeles than anywhere outside of Manila. LAX’s decision to move PAL to distant gates is a hardship for our kababayans on both sides of the Pacific who have relied on PAL’s direct service from Los Angeles to Manila for decades,” said Jose Perez de Tagle, vice president of corporate communications for Philippine Airlines, using the Tagalog word meaning fellow Filipinos, countrymen, or townmates.
“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 MSC, a boarding area that has yet to provide fully operational concessions and other amenities that long-haul international passengers expect. We strongly urge LAWA officials to reconsider.”
The Los Angeles World Airports notified the airline that its gate would be transferred on June 15, according to Philippine Airlines. LAWA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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, 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.