The row between American Airlines and the travel technology industry has entered a new phase, with AA adding Sabre to the anti-trust lawsuit originally filed in April 2011 against Travelport. The amended lawsuit, filed in Texas, claims that Sabre is involved in anti-competitive business practices.
In a counter action however, Sabre has now filed an anti-trust claim against AA, claiming the carrier is attempting to “gain a monopoly position in air booking services” for flights between the US and the Caribbean. The GDS company claims that AA is unlawfully forcing travel companies to use its new Direct Connect product.
“Our preference was to extend the current legal ‘stand down,'” said Chris Kroeger, Senior Vice President of Sabre Travel Network. “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.”
To increase the pressure on American, Travelport announced today that it has won an injunction against the carrier. A court in Illinois has overturned a previous ruling, and agreed with Travelport that an injunction should have been granted in December which would have prevented AA terminating its contracts with Orbitz. The court now requires AA to reinstate Orbitz’s ability to display and ticket the Fort Worth-based airline’s flights.
The long-running row between American and the GDS companies stems from the carrier attempting to drive more bookings to its AA Direct Connect system.