Sabre and American GDS row ‘flashpoint’ looms

American Airlines is poised to seek an injunction against global distribution system Sabre at the end of August in the next flashpoint in the dispute between the US carrier and leading GDSs.

Sabre’s full-content agreement with American is due to expire on August 31. A US spokesman for American said: “There will be a preliminary hearing in the week of August 29 to discuss a preliminary injunction against Sabre in anticipation of the contract expiry.”

The companies have been in negotiations on a contract for some time, but at the same time have issued competing lawsuits. Sabre is party to an anti-trust lawsuit against American with rival GDS-owner Travelport in a Federal court in Texas.

American has sued both GDSs on anti-trust grounds. Sabre is also involved in legal action against the carrier in a Texan state court.

The dispute between the companies centres on the cost to carriers of appearing on GDSs and American’s desire to drive bookings via its own Direct Connect channel.

American and Travelport issued a joint statement last week announcing the extension of their existing full-content agreements beyond the end of this year. The carrier’s agreement with Travelport-owned Worldspan would otherwise have expired this week.

Its contract with Galileo, also owned by Travelport, was due to expire on September 1.

Both American and Sabre declined to say whether they might agree a similar contract extension. American’s spokesman said: “We do not expect the extension with Travelport to have an effect on our litigation with Sabre.”

Litigation in the state courts is expected to reach a resolution in the autumn, but the Federal Court lawsuits are forecast to run into next year.

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