The Associated Press November 22, 2010, 5:16PM ET

Judge blocks AA from pulling flights off Orbitz

A state court judge in Illinois has stepped in to temporarily block American Airlines from pulling its flight listings from the Orbitz online travel agency.

American notified Orbitz that it could remove its listings on Dec. 1 in a dispute over where Orbitz gets its information on the airline's flights and prices.

Travelport Ltd., which controls Orbitz, asked for and won a temporary injunction against American.

A spokeswoman for American said Monday that Friday's ruling was not a final decision but only a pause designed to give the court and the two companies time to consider the evidence.

American's Mary Sanderson said the airline was confident that the court would eventually rule that American can end its relationship with Orbitz.

Orbitz did not immediately respond to messages for comment.

American wants travel agencies to get information about flights and prices directly from the airline and not from middlemen called global distribution systems, or GDSs.

Those systems charge airlines when consumers search for a particular flight or book a flight, and airlines are eager to reduce their distribution costs. Orbitz claims American's move would limit consumers' ability to compare airline prices.

Travelport, the privately held company that controls Orbitz Worldwide Inc., also owns the Worldspan and Galileo GDSs.

In trading Monday, Orbitz shares rose 5 cents to $5.23 while shares of American parent AMR Corp. fell 2 cents to $8.22.


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