Sabre files antitrust claim against American Airlines in federal court
SOUTHLAKE, Texas, June 1, 2011 – Continuing its efforts to protect the transparency of information regarding prices that airlines charge consumers for their flights and services, Sabre Holdings today filed an antitrust claim against American Airlines (AA).
“Our preference was to extend the current legal ’stand down,’” said Chris Kroeger, senior vice president, 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.”
Sabre’s antitrust claim asserts that AA is engaging in anticompetitive conduct to maintain its monopoly position over air transportation out of its hubs and between many U.S. and Caribbean cities, and to gain a monopoly position in air booking services for travel between those cities.
Sabre claims AA is unlawfully forcing travel agencies, travel management companies and corporations to take its Direct Connect product in order to access the airline’s full fare information, which constitutes illegal ’tying.’
Additionally, Sabre asserts that AA is attempting to eliminate the GDSs. The airline is doing this by refusing to provide complete fare information to GDSs and by forcing travel agents to use AA’s Direct Connect product instead of GDSs. Through these actions AA is reducing competition for air services and air booking services, thereby maintaining and expanding its monopoly position.
“Sabre welcomes fair, market-based competition. Having failed to gain market acceptance of its Direct Connect product, AA chose to go outside the bounds of fair competition by leveraging its monopoly position and by engaging in tying to try and force travel agencies to take a product they do not want,” said Kroeger. “These actions violate the law and impose substantial harm on our company and the travel agencies, consumers and corporate customers we serve, compelling us to take today’s legal action.”
Sabre’s claim seeks damages and an injunction preventing AA from continuing to force travel agents and other customers to take the airline’s Direct Connect product.
About Sabre Holdings
Sabre Holdings is the world’s leading travel technology company, providing innovative distribution and technology solutions for the global travel and tourism industry. The company serves travel agencies, corporations, travelers, airlines, hotels, and rail, car, cruise and tour operator companies through its four businesses: Sabre Airline Solutions, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Sabre Travel Network and Travelocity (including lastminute.com and Zuji). Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, Sabre has 10,000 employees in 60 countries around the world, and is privately owned by TPG and Silverlake.
Nancy St. Pierre