American Airlines files antitrust suit against Travelport

American Airlines (AA) has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Travelport and Orbitz in U.S. federal court in Fort Worth Texas.

The suit alleges that Travelport and Orbitz have engaged in anticompetitive conduct and created a monopoly by controlling pricing, distribution and availability of airline tickets.

In the complaint, American Airlines said: “Travelport has engaged in exclusionary conduct, and Travelport and Orbitz have entered into agreements with one another and with others to exclude competition and maintain Travelport’s monopoly power.”

In its court filings, American Airlines specifically targets Travelport’s control of Galileo, Apollo, and Worldspan. AA claims these three GDSs account for more than 30% of all airline ticket sales made by U.S. based travel agencies.

“In the past year, over $2.7 billion of American’s sales were booked through Travelport’s GDSs,” AA said. “Travelport effectively controls the ability of American and other network airlines to distribute fares, schedules, and availability information to Travelport’s travel agency subscribers, including defendant Orbitz, and to obtain reservations and sell tickets through those travel agencies.”

“Many business travellers will only purchase tickets through the travel agency with which their company has a contract. Because Travelport provides virtually 100% of the bookings for a large number of corporate customers whose travel agents subscribe to one of Travelport’s GDSs, it has monopoly power over American.”

Travelport responded to the suit, saying it “Contains significant factual inaccuracies, including, for example, wrongly stating that Galileo, a Travelport GDS platform, operates in the United States – which it has never done.”

“There are also many disparaging comments about Travelport’s technology which are not borne out by facts, including recent airline adoption of Travelport’s merchandising capability or innovation such as the ground-breaking Travelport uAPI.”

Travelport called the suit ludicrous and meritless, claiming it was an attempt by American Airlines to gain leverage using litigation and limit consumer choice.

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