Court: If Sabre biases American Airlines flights, then airline can seek injunction
The District Court in Tarrant County, Texas, denied Sabre’s motion to dismiss American Airlines’ hearing request for a temporary injunction. Sabre unsuccessfully argued that American’s claims for a temporary injunction were inconsistent with the Federal Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.
What does it all mean?
American Airlines and Sabre face an Aug. 31 deadline to renew an amendment to their GDS participation agreement, and if Sabre decides to bias American Airlines’ fights in the GDS, as Sabre did for a short time in January, then American is free to go to court to seek injunctive relief.
“We are pleased that the court rejected Sabre’s argument,” said Ryan Mikolasik, a spokesman for American Airlines.
Nancy St. Pierre, a Sabre spokeswoman, said the company “will prepare for whatever next steps are determined by the judge. Our focus remains on negotiating a deal with American Airlines that balances the needs of all constituents.”
Asked whether Sabre is taking or planning any commercial actions against American Airlines, St. Pierre said: “We are not going to discuss actions we may or may not take.”
In early January, the same state court granted American Airlines a temporary restraining order against Sabre biasing. That temporary restraining order is no longer in effect, the court ruled.
In other temporary court-order distribution news, Orbitz Worldwide noted in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the court order mandating that American Airlines restore its flights to Orbitz sites “is in place until further order of this court, but in no event beyond September 1, 2011.”
In other words, it is possible that American Airlines’ flights may again be absent from Orbitz sites after Sept. 1, barring another court order or the successful culmination of airline-GDS negotiations between American and Travelport, which controls Orbitz Worldwide.
Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.