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Does UA really want to expand operations at MNL?

Does UA really want to expand operations at MNL?

Old Nov 20, 19, 11:54 pm
  #16  
 
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As a former frequenter of the NRT-MNL run, I always wanted the direct route from the USA. And I can see in the thread evidence this is about GUM.

But in general I also wonder about the long term strategy for space/slots at MNL, for any foreign carrier to any destination. Terminal 1 is so old and overcapacity, that there is nothing left they can do with it. Factor that into the sprawl of terminal 2 and 3 without any real connecting infrastructure, and that the airport is now for the most part fully surrounded, there isn't much they can do to make that place better. Terminal 3 with NH and SQ feels already overloaded, so not only is UA's little needs worth going there they also can't absorb much more from terminal 1.

For UA, do they just stake as many claims as they can to the crumbling terminal 1 and let the other folks fight it out to move to terminal 3. UA doesn't need much. I wonder when CRK will really get traction beyond the OFW feed over ME carriers. Probably a very long time for UA to care, and too long for me to ever care.
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Old Nov 21, 19, 12:06 am
  #17  
 
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OK, with all this talk about connections through GUM to the CO routes, how about SFO or LAX - GUM nonstop? That would provide 1-stop service to MNL and more routes to other GUM-served cities.
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Old Nov 21, 19, 1:09 am
  #18  
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Originally Posted by jptan View Post
Are the passengers flying to MNL pretty price sensitive (leisure v. business travel)? I haven't flown UA transpacific, but you're right in that PR's hard product isn't the very competitive, even in J. I know a lot of my friends end up flying PAL just because of their direct flights.
Originally Posted by bart889 View Post
I think the service is highly bifurcated. Many US companies have call centres in the Philippines, so you get quite a bit of business travel from people supervising those operations. (I have a buddy in such a role - he likes the ANA Lounge at Narita, but wishes there was a direct UA flight from US mainland to MNL.) Most of the rest of the traffic is likely made up of Pinoy domestic workers in the US, who are extremely price sensitive.
I don't think I'd use the phrase "Pinoy domestic workers," either in the sense of domestics or in the general sense of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs); while I'm sure that's some of the traffic, the US does not tend to be a huge OFW market due to the visa requirements. In my experience, most US-MNL traffic falls more into the category of family visits -- first- and second-generation immigrants with family in the PI.

However, I agree about the price sensitivity.

Originally Posted by katan View Post
But in general I also wonder about the long term strategy for space/slots at MNL, for any foreign carrier to any destination. Terminal 1 is so old and overcapacity, that there is nothing left they can do with it. Factor that into the sprawl of terminal 2 and 3 without any real connecting infrastructure, and that the airport is now for the most part fully surrounded, there isn't much they can do to make that place better. Terminal 3 with NH and SQ feels already overloaded, so not only is UA's little needs worth going there they also can't absorb much more from terminal 1.

For UA, do they just stake as many claims as they can to the crumbling terminal 1 and let the other folks fight it out to move to terminal 3. UA doesn't need much. I wonder when CRK will really get traction beyond the OFW feed over ME carriers. Probably a very long time for UA to care, and too long for me to ever care.
UA has already moved to NAIA Terminal 3. I suspect they'll need to demolish Terminal 1 and replace it, but I don't know what the ROI would be.

Ultimately, CRK would make sense as a long-term gateway, but only if they can build the necessary infrastructure -- you'd need convenient rail access to Manila ( la HKG, ICN, NRT, etc). As it stands, I can't imagine a US business traveler wanting to fly to CRK in order to get to a meeting in Metro Manila. I do suspect that UA could fill CRK-GUM, but I don't know that they'd like the fares they'd get.

Originally Posted by AlreadyThere View Post
OK, with all this talk about connections through GUM to the CO routes, how about SFO or LAX - GUM nonstop? That would provide 1-stop service to MNL and more routes to other GUM-served cities.
SFO-GUM has been on my wish list for a while, but UA has a bit of a weird challenge there:
  • They're clearly looking to boost nonstop traffic with long & thin routes, not build out additional hubs, so
  • There's just not enough connecting traffic through GUM to justify two widebodies a day, and
  • The GUM-HNL market is extremely important (and, likely, profitable).
If UA wanted to rebuild its GUM network -- reinstitute service to CNS, HKG, DPS, maybe add CGK, KUL, BKK, etc. -- then they could probably find enough traffic to support SFO-GUM or LAX-GUM. As it stands, I just don't see how they could do it profitably. Maybe with the reconfigured, low-J 788, but I just don't see it.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 5:09 pm
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
If UA wanted to rebuild its GUM network -- reinstitute service to CNS, HKG, DPS, maybe add CGK, KUL, BKK, etc. -- then they could probably find enough traffic to support SFO-GUM or LAX-GUM. As it stands, I just don't see how they could do it profitably. Maybe with the reconfigured, low-J 788, but I just don't see it.
You'll notice that none of the cities you've mentioned, with the exception of HKG, has nonstop service from the US. I'm not suggesting replacing HNL-GUM, just using SFO or LAX to build on that market area (including MNL and even possibly smaller Philippine destinations a couple of times a week) using an already-established hub.

On the minus side, I've heard that GUM is now trying to extract a much higher landing fee from UA.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 8:23 pm
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by AlreadyThere View Post
You'll notice that none of the cities you've mentioned, with the exception of HKG, has nonstop service from the US. I'm not suggesting replacing HNL-GUM, just using SFO or LAX to build on that market area (including MNL and even possibly smaller Philippine destinations a couple of times a week) using an already-established hub.

On the minus side, I've heard that GUM is now trying to extract a much higher landing fee from UA.
That would seem to me to be counter productive. For those civilians on this forum that have been to Guam, have any of us been there for any reason other than passing through on United? Unless they plan on trying to get DL or AA to change their whole route structure, that move could backfire and leave GUM without much service other than to Japan and South Korea.

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Old Jan 7, 20, 8:32 am
  #21  
 
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United wants more flights from MNL

Seems from link, they want add fligths at MNL https://www.routesonline.com/news/29...ess-codeshare/

Where would flight go? LAX, SFO or HNL?
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Old Jan 7, 20, 8:39 am
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Taipei View Post
Seems from link, they want add fligths at MNL https://www.routesonline.com/news/29...ess-codeshare/

Where would flight go? LAX, SFO or HNL?
UA claims that they want to add flights at MNL. I suspect that what they really want to do is to protect MNL-GUM.

If they were to add a flight, it'd almost certainly be SFO. I'm just not convinced that they want to compete head-to-head with PAL, as PAL has a history of dragging yields down wherever they fly. I don't see how they'd make any money on MNL-HNL; you'd cripple GUM-HNL while filling a plane full of leisure / VFR travelers. Business travelers from the US would still be flying PAL or transiting TYO. (SFO-NRT-MNL is almost 700 miles shorter than SFO-HNL-MNL).
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Old Jan 7, 20, 8:46 am
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by Taipei View Post
Seems from link, they want add fligths at MNL https://www.routesonline.com/news/29...ess-codeshare/

Where would flight go? LAX, SFO or HNL?
Given UA's interest in making SFO the hub for flights to Asia, that seems like the most logical route. HNL doesn't fit into much of a route system, and not clear the O/D traffic could support it.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 8:56 am
  #24  
 
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The more dense 787-8 configuration might be a good platform to launch a route like SFO-MNL, but I am not holding my breath.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 9:36 am
  #25  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
If they were to add a flight, it'd almost certainly be SFO. I'm just not convinced that they want to compete head-to-head with PAL, as PAL has a history of dragging yields down wherever they fly.
This. Though who knows, maybe UA has demand from corporate customers. They certainly don't want to be competing with PAL on price.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 9:43 am
  #26  
 
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I half wonder if once upon a time (like pre-June 2019) they were considering a narrow body HKG-MNL flight (or even a GUM-MNL-HKG-MNL-GUM flight). I've routed through HKG a number of times and jumped from UA to CX for the leg to MNL. I know they've been getting away from the Asia tag-on flights, but this might have worked had it come together before the current reductions at HKG.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 9:43 pm
  #27  
 
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Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
Given UA's interest in making SFO the hub for flights to Asia, that seems like the most logical route. HNL doesn't fit into much of a route system, and not clear the O/D traffic could support it.
I guess HNL could support O/D traffic, some 20%+ of the people in Hawaii have family ties between the two places, and I guess O/D fares give higher yield than connections.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 10:18 pm
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
This. Though who knows, maybe UA has demand from corporate customers. They certainly don't want to be competing with PAL on price.
Hawaiian had to drop MNL-HNL because it was such a money loser - the planes were full - the prices very low.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 10:47 pm
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Taipei View Post
I guess HNL could support O/D traffic, some 20%+ of the people in Hawaii have family ties between the two places, and I guess O/D fares give higher yield than connections.
Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Hawaiian had to drop MNL-HNL because it was such a money loser - the planes were full - the prices very low.
Right, this is exactly what I'd expect. They could fill a plane, but I don't think they could make any money doing it. Yes, you can probably get somewhat higher yield on O/D, but UA's target market is still business travel, not VFR. And PAL serves MNL-HNL also, so you're still looking at head-to-head competition.

The 789 has the legs for EWR-MNL or ORD-MNL, but PAL also flies JFK-MNL (with the A350, they've dropped the tech stop in YVR), so ORD-MNL is really the only market where they wouldn't face head-to-head competition. But I think the 789 is too much capacity, so, same problem: I don't think it's a profitable flight.

I'd love to be wrong, and I'd love to see UA add service. But I'm extremely skeptical.
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