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US Airways has filed a lawsuit against Sabre Holdings for “anticompetitive and anticonsumer practices”.
The airline wants to “recover monetary damages”, after accusing Sabre of holding a monopoly over air fare distribution and using it to limit competition and hinder innovation.
The move is the latest development in ongoing disagreements between a number of global distribution systems (GDSs) and airlines over how fares and schedules are distributed.
US Airways’ move comes shortly after American Airlines filed a similar lawsuit against Sabre’s rival Travelport.
Scott Kirby, US Airways' president, said Sabre had hurt consumers through "artificially inflated" costs, reduced innovation and fewer choices.
"The airline industry and other technology services providers have become more efficient, yet Sabre's conduct has enabled it to charge inflated prices with outdated technology that was developed before the Internet existed,” he said.
“Lower-cost, more technologically-advanced alternatives and innovative fare products are being shut out by Sabre's actions.”
US Airways reached a new distribution agreement with Sabre in February.
In a statement, the airline said it had sought to remove “anticompetitive restrictions”, but was prevented from doing so after Sabre threatened to stop access to US airways via the GDS.
According to the complaint, “US Airways was forced to acquiesce to Sabre's my way or the highway demands as a part of any new deal”.
The airline said it relies on travel agents booking with US Airways through Sabre, and if its fares could not be accessed via the GDS it would not be able to survive.
“Given this disproportionate market control, US Airways is forced to accept Sabre's monopolistic practices,” added the airline.
A Sabre spokesman rejected US Airways’ claims as “baseless and without merit”.
He said: “It is yet another misguided attempt by an airline to use the courts to undermine a market-driven distribution model that has brought competition to the airline industry by providing consumers and the third parties that serve them with the ability to quickly and conveniently comparison shop for services across hundreds of airlines around the world.”
Sabre intends to “aggressively defend” against US Airways’ lawsuit, said the spokesman, and to “take appropriate action to protect consumers’ right to a transparent marketplace.