American Airlines threatens to pull fares from Orbitz


American Airlines has threatened to withdraw distribution through eBookers’ parent company Orbitz Worldwide from December 1.


The carrier said it would stop providing fare data to the online travel agency unless a new contract is reached.


But Orbitz CEO Barney Harford attacked the decision, describing the move as “a broad attack by American on the travel distribution landscape”.


American is pushing for online travel agencies such as Orbitz to obtain flight and fare information directly from the airline, instead of through a global distribution system such as Sabre or Travelport’s Galileo and Worldspan, Harford said.


GDS’s “ensure travel agents can offer consumers a comprehensive choice of airlines,” he said. “It is completely inefficient for each travel agency to have to connect to hundreds of airlines. We are actively working to resolve this issue.”


A “range of issues” are being negotiated by Orbitz and American, a spokeswoman for the airline said.


She declined to comment on specifics as negotiations continue.


“We continue to negotiate in good faith to reach a viable, mutually beneficial agreement with Orbitz,” she said. “We believe it is important that our distribution channels be cost-effective and efficient.”


American declined to provide a figure for ticket sales through Orbitz or other online agencies. Orbitz also declined to detail income from American sales.


Orbitz shares fell by 17% as the row emerged.


 


 


 

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