American ends Sabre dispute with new deal

OTAs had previously hidden American's fares
OTAs had hidden American's fares

American Airlines has put an end to its long-running dispute with Sabre by ending its court case and signing a new content agreement.

In a joint statement, Sabre and American announced that they have “settled their disputes” and have renewed their current distribution agreement for several more years. The statement added that as part of the settlement, “American will receive a monetary payment from Sabre” although no figures were disclosed. American has also agreed to negotiate with Sabre for additional technology services in the future.

The settlement follows a court case in Texas in which American accused Sabre of punishing it for trying to generate more direct bookings. The airline alleged that Sabre had raised its fees for displaying American’s fares. The launch of American’s DirectConnect booking channel in 2010 led to a major dispute between the airline and the online travel community, with OTAs including Expedia and Orbitz ‘hiding’ American fares in retaliation.

What followed was a series of ugly exchanges including American filing lawsuits against both Travelport and Sabre, over what it claimed was the anti-competitive nature of the GDS companies’ role in the travel distribution process.

Travelport, which controls the Galileo, Worldspan and Apollo GDS’, has also signed a new extension agreement with American, which had been due to expire at the end of October and now runs through December. The two companies said they will continue negotiations “in the hope of reaching a new long-term agreement”. American’s anti-trust lawsuit against Travelport and Orbitz continues.
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