While Cebu Pacific announced it will end flights to the Pacific island of Guam, another Philippine low cost airline – Philippines AirAsia - has applied for permission to operate flights to the United States territory. It has applied for planned flights to the US territory of Guam and Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.
According to a report from the Manila Standard, Philippines AirAsia – the Manila-based subsidiary of Malaysia's low cost AirAsia Group – filed a petition with the Philippine Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) for designation and allocation of entitlements under the Philippines-United States of America Air Transport Agreement.
The airline in the petition also requested to revoke the designation of Air Philippines as one of three official carriers that can operate flights between the Philippines and the United States. The other two are Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Air Philippines started operations in 2005 before it was acquired by Philippine Airlines. At present, it operates as a domestic subsidiary for Philippine Airlines as PAL Express.
Since 2012, Philippines AirAsia has grown to be the third major player in the Philippine aviation market. It has since acquired the former Zest Airways brand and has now grown its domestic and international route network from its hubs in Manila, Cebu, Clark, Davao, Kalibo, and Puerto Princesa. It currently operates a fleet of all-Airbus A320s with 180 seats in a single-class economy configuration. While the AirAsia Group subsidiaries in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand operate independently, bookings for travel is done through the main AirAsia website.
Between Manila and Guam, three airlines currently operates a total of 17 weekly flights on the route: United Airlines, Philippine Airlines, and Cebu Pacific. After December 7, it will narrow down to 2 as Cebu Pacific announced it will suspend its thrice-weekly flights. United and Philippine Airlines have daily (7 weekly) non-stop flights each, Cebu Pacific has 3 departures a week. United also operates a twice-weekly flight to Manila via Koror, Palau.
There are currently no regularly scheduled flights between the Philippines and Saipan. Travelers have options to connect via Guam or Korea.
In its statement regarding its suspension of its Manila-Guam flights, Cebu Pacific cited visa requirements for Filipino citizens and the route was "no longer viable" as contributing reasons to the airline's decision.
Any new flights to Guam or Saipan will not be the first entry of the low cost AirAsia brand on US flights. It's long haul subsidiary AirAsia X currently operates flights between Osaka (Kansai) and Honolulu, Hawaii.