United Continental eyes partnership with All Nippon Airways
MANILA, Philippines—The world’s largest airline United Continental Holdings is working on a partnership with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways to give US-bound passengers the option to fly via Narita instead of the former’s hub in Guam.
This partnership is the local execution of an international Japan-US flight arrangement that the two carriers forged in April 2011.
“They will fly our passengers Manila-Narita and then take on our flights or their flights to the US, giving passengers more options,” United country manager Clodelsa Ty said in a media roundtable on Tuesday.
“It’s actually very exciting. So with our passengers, let’s say you don’t want to go via Guam, then you can go via Narita,” she said.
United currently flies out of Manila once a day for seven weeks. Its US-bound passengers fly via Guam. All Nippon, for its part, has a daily flight from Manila to Japan.
A big bulk of United’s passenger market out of the Philippines comprise migrant workers, with a share of about 60 percent. Tourists and business travelers account for 20 percent each.
Tourism is seen having a good potential to boost United’s business in the Philippines. But United vice president for Asia Pacific James Mueller said the country’s new tourism campaign “More Fun in the Philippines” would help a lot.
“It takes time to change people’s perception about a destination so my hope is this is the first step in the longer effort to continue to market one of the many things that the Philippines has to offer,” Mueller said.
He said this would be a great opportunity to get a bigger share of foreign tourists given the greater number going to Thailand and elsewhere in the region.
“It takes time but it’s good to see the government focused,” Mueller said.
United ceased operations in the Philippines in 1998 but because of its merger with Continental Airlines, which has been operating in the country for more than 20 years, it’s effectively back under the brand United Continental.
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