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American Airlines has filed a lawsuit against Travelport and Orbitz, over “anticompetitive business practices”.
In a statement, AA has said it requires “monetary damages” as compensation for the “harmful actions” of online travel agency Orbitz and its largest investor Travelport.
The move is the latest development in an ongoing disagreement between the two companies over how AA distributes its fares and schedules.
AA has set up a new Direct Connect model, encouraging clients to buy directly from the airline's own website rather than through the GDS.
Travelport, which owns the Galileo and Worldspan GDSs, is already in the process of suing AA for breach of contract after the carrier removed its fares from Orbitz, which no longer sells any AA tickets.
AA‘s lawsuit states that Travelport has engaged in anticompetitive conduct “to protect its market position from new competition by alternative technologies that are both less expensive and more capable”.
The suit, filed in Fort Worth, Texas, also claims that Travelport and Orbitz have suppressed innovation that would be beneficial to airline passengers.
Travelport has dismissed AA’s allegations as “ludicrous and without merit" and said that the complaint contains “significant factual inaccuracies”.
The travel technology firm issued a statement saying: “In unsuccessful negotiations and now in litigation, AA seeks to limit consumer choice in shopping for fares and to limit consumer access to other relevant data.
“Travelport’s aggregation, search and shopping allows travel agents and consumers a full range of choices across over 400 airlines. Travelport believes that AA’s plans to force a more restrictive distribution model would result in inefficiencies and considerable added costs ultimately to be paid by consumers.”