Lufthansa and Sabre face-off in US court

Lufthansa and Sabre face-off in US court

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Lufthansa has filed a US lawsuit against global distribution system (GDS) Sabre after being accused of breach of contract over imposition of its GDS booking fee.

German carrier Lufthansa has sought clarification of its distribution contract with Sabre in the Tarrant County Court in Fort Worth, Texas, as part of the suit filed late last week.

The airline imposed a €16 Distribution Cost Charge (DCC) on GDs bookings last September and has since sought to develop alternative distribution channels.

Sabre notified Lufthansa last year that it believed its contract with the carrier meant the fee should be applied to other distribution channels, including direct sales by the airline.

The GDS informed Lufthansa it was in breach of contract at the beginning of March, and Lufthansa responded with its lawsuit last week. Sabre’s headquarters is in Southlake, Tarrant County.

Lufthansa said in a statement: “Lufthansa is seeking clarity on contractual terms with Sabre that seem to be viewed differently by the parties.”

Sabre responded: “Sabre has expressed its concern, on multiple occasions, about Lufthansa’s failure to comply with its contract. Sabre will respond vigorously against this lawsuit.”

Lufthansa declared itself “highly satisfied” with its sales last week, six months after imposing the GDS fee and despite claims from various sources, including the Guild of Travel Management Companies in the UK, that the airline has lost market share.

Jens Bischof, Lufthansa chief commercial officer and vice-president for sales, said: “We do not see a deterioration in booking numbers. Our load factors are at a record level.”

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