Technology firm Sabre has accused US Airways of colluding with other airlines to “boycott” the GDSs and fix the prices of fares.
Sabre has today filed an “anti-competitive” claim against US Airways in the latest battle between GDSs and US-based airlines.
The Dallas-based firm’s move is a “counter claim” in response to the lawsuit launched by US Airways against Sabre in April 2011 in which the airline alleged the GDS owner was acting in an “anti-competitive” manner.
Sabre now claims that US Airways has been colluding with other airlines to “boycott Sabre and other GDSs by numerous means” over the last few years.
“Most prominently, they have agreed to withhold content from, or to provide it only on certain terms to, Sabre and other GDSs,” said Sabre in its counter-claim made today (January 18) to a Federal Court in New York.
“They have entered into agreements on the technological means by which they will deal with Sabre and other GDSs, including abandoning the current system of public, non-discriminatory fare filings in favor of discriminatory fares available only to certain travellers.
“They have agreed on the price terms that they will pursue from the GDSs and have co-ordinated their negotiation strategies. These horizontal conspiracies and boycotts violate the anti-trust laws.”
Sabre said that US Airways and “its co-conspirators organised and implemented the conspiracy through regular communications, including emails, telephone calls, and meetings held under the guise of a variety of alliances, advisory committees, consortiums, and trade associations.”
US Airways originally alleged that Sabre had used its “dominant” position as a distributor of airline fares to create “higher distribution costs for US Airways and as a result, higher costs for consumers”.
The airline also claimed that Sabre was “reducing innovation” and “limiting choices for travel agencies to access US Airways content”.
Sabre has also formally denied these US Airways’ claims in today’s court filing.
US Airways launched its original lawsuit against Sabre just two months after agreeing a new distribution agreement with the tech firm in February 2011.
“It is very disappointing to learn that US Airways did not negotiate with us in good faith in 2011, and instead intended all along to sue us as soon as they signed the agreement,” said Sabre in a statement.
“Given its strategy, it appears that US Airways never had any intention of living up to its agreement.”