CORRECT (6/1): American Airlines Files Antitrust Suit Against Sabre

Date : 06/03/2011 @ 7:44AM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : US Airways Grp. New US Airways Grp., Inc. (LCC)
Quote : 22.55  0.0 (0.00%) @ 2:05AM

CORRECT (6/1): American Airlines Files Antitrust Suit Against Sabre

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("American Airlines Resumes Antitrust Suit Against Sabre," at 1756 GMT and 1810 GMT on June 1, misstated that American Airlines resumed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Sabre Holdings Corp. The correct version follows:)

 
   DOW JONES NEWSWIRES 
 

AMR Corp.'s (AMR) American Airlines filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Sabre Holdings Corp. over the way the travel-services provider's global distribution systems operate.

American, which used to own Sabre, agreed in January to put litigation related to a separate state lawsuit on hold until June 1, as the airline and fare distributor debated how airplane tickets were distributed and sold to customers.

The airline said Wednesday it amended the federal lawsuit it filed in April against Travelport LP and Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (OWW) to also seek damages and a permanent injunction against Sabre's alleged anticompetitive practices. Sabre was already the target of a similar lawsuit filed by US Airways Group Inc. (LCC) in April.

American said it decided to include Sabre after several months of trying to resolve the disputes, to which Sabre was "unresponsive."

Sabre filed its own antitrust suit Wednesday, alleging American Airlines wants to gain a monopoly position in air-booking services by forcing travel agencies, travel-management companies and corporations to take its Direct Connect product in order to access the airline's full fare information.

"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.

The lawsuits are part of an ongoing dispute between airlines and online travel agencies. For years, airlines have sought changes in the way that global distribution systems operate, pushing for more flexibility to sell tickets and other products through their own websites.

Sabre, which runs the largest U.S. global distribution system, is owned by private-equity companies Silver Lake and TPG.

-By Melodie Warner, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2283; melodie.warner@dowjones.com

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