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American Airlines Settles Its $1 Billion Antitrust Claims against Global Distribution System

Following three weeks of trial to a Fort Worth, Texas state court jury, American Airlines reached a settlement with the largest global distribution system (GDS) in the nation, Sabre, in connection with antitrust, contract, and tort claims for which American was seeking about $1 billion in damages.  At issue was American’s assertion that following the launch of its AA Direct Connect ticketing system for corporate travelers, Sabre engaged in a wrongful campaign to delay or prevent the new competition, including by secretly “biasing” or hiding American’s flights on Sabre’s system, organizing efforts by leading corporate travel agencies to boycott American, doubling its fees to American, and threatening to expel American from the Sabre GDS.  According to the parties’ press release, the settlement includes a renewed multi-year distribution contract for American’s flights, negotiation for future technology services, and a confidential monetary payment.  The settlement also drops Sabre from American’s parallel federal court case against Travelport (another GDS) and Orbitz.  The settlement is subject to approval by the bankruptcy court in American’s bankruptcy case.

Yetter Coleman was lead trial counsel for American, with a team that included Paul Yetter, George Fibbe, Anna Rotman, Marc Tabolsky, Scott Keller, Chris Porter, Wyatt Dowling, Rob Ellis, and Stephani Cink-Orozco.  Read about the settlement agreement.