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American Airlines Wins Antitrust Lawsuit

Dorathy Gass

Some good news for American Airlines, as the company may have something huge to celebrate this holiday season.

After months of dispute, the air carrier recently won a $15.3 million-dollar (USD) antitrust lawsuit that was launched against Sabre Global Distribution System (GDS), a division owned by Sabre Holdings. This came to be, after allegations that GDS incriminated higher-than-normal fees for booking and used its power and position to burden air carriers into signing one-sided contracts and disbursing enhanced fees.

Initially the airline company had been looking for $73 million when it came to the lawsuit. Although a New York City jury granted American Airlines near $5.1 million, that tripled under the United States’ federal antitrust law, resulting in the $15.3 million that was awarded. It may not have been what they wanted, but a win at the end of the day, is a win.

As for Sabre, Travelweek reported that the company is hoping the verdict will be set aside. If that fails, their next step is to organize an appeal on the decision.

The company, which was represented as U.S. Airway in the lawsuit as it was merged three years ago in 2013, also charged that Sabre and its competitors worked together to abolish competition between them when it came to airline content, which included fare and flight data. Unfortunately, the jury precluded this claim.

The lawsuit was originally launched in 2015, where American Airlines decided to move to a jury trial, versus a judge-only verdict, in February of this year.

Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time these two companies have been locked in court disagreements. In fact, it was four years ago in 2012 that American Airlines and Sabre decided to come to an agreement outside of court proceedings regarding another matter. It is being reported that the agreement cost around that issue was approximately $280 million when all was said and done.