Sabre is pushing back on claims made by American Airlines in a lawsuit filed last month that alleged Sabre of favouring American’s competitors in the market.
The lawsuit, which American filed in District Court in Tarrant County, Tex., in late June, accused Sabre of hurting American through “inaccurate and misleading” information its New Airline Storefront, which, in turn, gave its travel agency users incentives to book with other carriers.
In a response to that lawsuit filed on Friday, Sabre said called the suit a “knee-jerk reaction to press releases about innovation that AA could not control.”
“With palpable fear of falling further behind, AA has resorted to litigation rather than innovation. Sabre did not breach any contract. It simply pursued innovation that benefits the consumer.”
Kristin Hays, senior vice president of global communications for Sabre, said that the whole point of American’s lawsuit was “to stifle innovation in the travel marketplace to the detriment of consumers.”
“We vehemently deny the allegations in AA’s complaint and intend to vigorously defend the lawsuit. We believe Sabre is complying with its contractual obligations to AA,” she said.
"It is clear that AA has little interest in innovating, transforming or moving the travel industry forward. Rather, AA is taking actions – like this lawsuit – to try to limit innovation and transparency for the consumer. To allege that Sabre’s New Airline Storefront favours Delta’s products over AA’s is simply untrue.”
American’s original lawsuit says that Sabre’s action with its New Airline Storefront caused “irreparable harm that cannot be fully compensated with money damages” to American.
American said that it has repeatedly raised the issue with Sabre and requested that Sabre pause the rollout of its new display until the issues were taken care of, a request that Sabre denied.
This is not the first time that American has sued Sabre. In 2012, American, under the US Airways moniker, filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Sabre in both State and Federal courts, a fight that came down to who would control the distribution of information about flights and fares. Those lawsuits were settled out of court.
American again sued Sabre in 2016, accusing the GDS provider of harming competition by grossly inflating booking fees. A Manhattan federal jury awarded Sabre nearly $5.1 million in that suit, a sum that was tripled under federal antitrust law. That lawsuit also included the court rejecting a claim that Sabre conspired with other GDS providers to avoid competition.