Sabre Holdings and American Airlines File Opposing Suits

In the midst of negotiating a distribution agreement, Sabre Holdings and American Airlines (AA) have filed lawsuits against each other By: Megan Brickwood

In the midst of negotiating a distribution agreement, Sabre Holdings and American Airlines (AA) have filed lawsuits against each other. With an initial antitrust lawsuit filed against Travelport, AA amended its suit to include Sabre. Sabre, in turn, filed a motion to intervene in federal court against AA in the Travelport suit.

Both companies claim that the other company is engaging in anti-competitive business practices and exercising an unfair monopoly in the travel industry.

In its lawsuit, AA claims that both Travelport and Sabre control over 90 percent of U.S. travel bookings and monopolize connections to both travel agents and consumers. According to AA, Travelport and Sabre “engage in anti-competitive conduct to protect their market position from new competition by alternative technologies that are both less expensive and more capable.”

In response, Sabre is seeking damages and an injunction against AA. Sabre’s claim asserts that AA’s anti-competitive practices include unlawfully forcing travel agencies, travel management companies and corporations to use its Direct Connect product and attempting to eliminate global distribution systems (GDS).

“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.”
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