American adds Sabre to antitrust suit, Sabre files back
American Airlines has added Sabre to its antitrust suit filed in Apr-2011 against Travelport, and the GDS has retaliated by filing an antitrust claim against American Airlines (travolution.co.uk/Reuters/Dow Jones, 01-Jun-2011). American amended the lawsuit it filed in Apr-2011 against Travelport and Orbitz, which it has just lost, to also seek damages and a permanent injunction against Sabre's alleged anti-competitive behaviour. Sabre has also been the target of a similar lawsuit against US Airways. American decided to include Sabre after several months of trying to resolve the dispute, to which Sabre was "unresponsive".
Sabre’s antitrust claim accuses American of “engaging in anti-competitive conduct to maintain its monopoly position over air transportation out of its hubs and between many US and Caribbean cities, and to gain a monopoly position in air booking service for travel between those cities”. Sabre’s claim seeks damages and an injunction preventing American from continuing to force travel agents and other customers to take the carrier’s Direct Connect product. American, which used to own Sabre, agreed in Jan-2011 to put the litigation on hold until 01-Jun-2011, as the carrier and fare distributor debated how tickets were distributed and sold to customers.
Sabre: “Our preference was to extend the current legal ‘stand down’. However it is apparent based on AA’s actions that Sabre has no choice but to pursue legal remedies. In parallel, we will continue to pursue through negotiations a distribution agreement with AA that meets the needs of all constituents.” SVP Sabre Travel Network, Chris Kroeger. Source: Sabre, 01-Jun-2011.