American Airlines, a unit of bankrupt AMR Corp. (AAMRQ:US), settled claims that Travelport Ltd. colluded with other reservation systems to stifle competition in providing flight data to travelers.
The companies reached a new distribution agreement that will require the approval of the court presiding over AMR’s bankruptcy, according to a joint statement issued today. No specific terms of the settlement were given. The accord resolves all litigation between the companies, according to the statement.
The settlement leaves only Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (OWW:US) as a defendant in an antitrust suit American Airlines filed in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, in April 2011. The carrier accused several online reservation systems of conspiring to block it from entering the electronic flight-data and reservations market.
The dispute was touched off when Fort Worth-based American moved to provide flight reservation data and service directly to travel agents rather than going through data providers such as Travelport, Orbitz and Sabre Holdings Corp.
American and Travelport, which is based in Atlanta and controlled by Blackstone Group LP (BX:US), settled the federal case and related litigation that Travelport filed in a Cook County, Illinois, state court in November 2010, according to Alan Phillips, an airline spokesman.
In October, American resolved its disputes with Sabre. In February, Chicago-based Orbitz told U.S. District Judge Terry Means in Fort Worth that it too had reached a binding settlement with the airline. The judge rejected that contention and agreed with American that the two had only held inconclusive settlement discussions.
Means has scheduled an in-chambers conference for April 23 at which a trial date will be set, according to a court order.
The federal case is American Airlines Inc. v. Travelport Ltd., 11-cv-00244, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth); and the state case is Travelport v. American Airlines 10-CH-48028, Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division (Chicago).
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