US Airways takes Sabre to court


US Airways has filed a federal civil anti-trust lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against Sabre Holdings Corp. The carrier’s complaint states that Sabre “has engaged in a pattern of exclusionary conduct to shut out competition, protect its monopoly pricing power and maintain its technologically-obsolete business model.”

US Airways said in a statement that Sabre has “wielded its significant market power and control through exclusionary commitments from travel agents and other Global Distribution Systems (GDSs), as well as through anti-competitive requirements placed on US Airways and other airlines in order to sell their tickets.”

And it adds that “all of these actions by Sabre hurt consumers through higher prices, reduced innovation and fewer choices.”

US Airways said that the filing of its lawsuit comes following the recent execution of a new distribution agreement between Sabre and US Airways, which was reached in late February 2011.

During negotiations with Sabre, US Airways made it clear to Sabre that it sought a new contract without exclusionary restrictions that protect Sabre from competition.

However, US Airways states that “Sabre threatened to shut off access to US Airways if the new agreement did not include these anti-competitive restrictions.”

As a result, US Airways said that it was forced to acquiesce to Sabre’s “my way or the highway” demands as a part of any new deal.

US Airways’ president, Scott Kirby said the carrier “wants to be able to widely distribute its products and services to consumers in a cost-effective and efficient way, but Sabre continues to erect roadblocks to this goal. US Airways and travellers would see enormous benefits if Sabre had to compete on a level playing field.”