Sabre: ‘We want a deal with American by end of August’

Sabre has insisted it does not foresee a breakdown in its global distribution system (GDS) agreement with American Airlines despite the expiry of the companies’ existing full-content deal at the end of August.

American and Sabre are locked in talks while simultaneously pursuing legal action against one another. A failure to reach an agreement could see the US carrier disappear from the screens of travel agents using the Sabre system, with American pledged to go to court to stop this happening.

Sabre Travel Network senior vice-president Chris Kroeger said: “Our focus is on getting a deal done. We are having discussions. We are working diligently to come to an agreement with American. We will be working throughout the month.”

American has already made clear it will seek an injunction against Sabre ahead of the full-content agreement between the companies expiring on August 31.

Kroeger told Travel Weekly: “There is a lot of legal activity. I won’t speculate on what may happen after September 1. Our agreement expires at the end of the month and we want to get a deal done by the end of the month.”

The companies are embroiled in two legal cases in the US, with Sabre party to an anti-trust lawsuit against American alongside rival GDS-owner Travelport in a federal court in Texas, and the pair involved in separate action in a Texas state court.

The dispute centres on American’s desire to drive retail sales via its own, online Direct Connect channel – in part, to try to make more money from ancillary sales.

However, Kroeger said: “There is an aligned set of goals between us. We both want good revenue growth, good customer relations and optimum distribution costs. Sabre is well-positioned to help with all three.” He added: “There is an opportunity to have a balanced agreement in place by the end of the month.

“As we get closer to the expiration of the agreement it is in the interests of both parties to focus on discussions.”

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