Start of American Airlines-Sabre antitrust case extended two months
With American Airlines bogged down in its reorganization efforts, a judge in a Texas state court has delayed the beginning of a jury trial in the airline’s antitrust suit against Sabre for a couple of months.
The trial in the district court of Tarrant County, Texas, is now slated to kick off on August 6, 2012, instead of the previously slated date, June 13, 2012.
The effect of the ruling is that the truce in the airline-GDS war will remain in effect for a couple of months longer.
American Airlines and Sabre have been battling on the legal front over antitrust issues, and in the marketplace over a new contract, distribution economics and direct-connect.
Sabre issued a statement about Judge Donald Crosby’s extension ruling, noting that the GDS vendors’ travel agency and corporate customers, as well as consumers using sites such as Travelocity, will have access to American Airlines’ fares through the end of the trial.
Sabre spokeswoman Nancy St. Pierre adds:
We are disappointed with the extension, as it yet again delays the long-term certainty Sabre’s agency and corporate customers have told us is important and which we are dedicated to achieving. It’s unfortunate that AA has chosen a path of litigation with Sabre, particularly since the airline is now focused on its bankruptcy. Our preference is to negotiate with AA and we continue to call on the airline to work with us to reach a deal that meets the needs of all constituents.
In turn, American Airlines states:
American has always been open to resolving our disputes and entering into a fair, new agreement with Sabre through negotiations. Despite American’s past efforts, we have not been able to reach such a resolution. Because we have discovered that Sabre engaged in serious misconduct in violation of the antitrust laws, however, we intend to pursue our losses, absent an agreed resolution. This is just a brief extension, but it is important to give American breathing room to focus on both its successful restructuring efforts and this lawsuit. As a reminder, American’s current distribution agreement with Sabre will remain in effect until 14 days after the conclusion of the Texas antitrust lawsuit.
Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.