* American Airlines adds Sabre to antitrust suit
* Airline claims "anti-competitive" practices
* Sabre says claim is "baseless"
(Adds quotes from AMR and Sabre, background)
CHICAGO, June 1 American Airlines said on
Wednesday it added Sabre Holdings Corp [TSG.UL] to its federal
antitrust lawsuit originally filed against Travelport Ltd,
which seeks to stop "exclusionary, anti-consumer and
American Airlines, a unit of AMR Corp AMR.N, filed a
lawsuit last month accusing Orbitz Worldwide Inc (OWW.N) and
air fare data provider Travelport of making American's fares
look higher to customers than they were. But it also has been
battling Sabre, which owns Travelocity, over how its fares are
"The illegal actions of Sabre and Travelport have harmed
consumers and travel agents alike in a number of ways,
including suppressing innovation that would enable travel
agents to better serve their customers," American Airlines said
in a statement.
American last year stopped listing its fares on Orbitz
after the travel agency refused to adopt American's new
technology that would let consumers price their trips based on
other factors besides just fares.
Sabre, which operates a global distribution system that
sends airline fare information to travel agents, was once a
unit of American Airlines. Sabre said the lawsuit is "baseless
and without merit."
"We intend to aggressively defend against AA's lawsuit,
pursue our own legal rights, and take appropriate action to
protect consumers' right to a transparent marketplace in which
travelers can quickly and conveniently comparison shop among
all competing airlines," Sabre said in an e-mailed statement.
Earlier on Wednesday, Sabre filed a motion to intervene in
American Airlines' antitrust lawsuit against Travelport. As
part of that motion, the company claimed that American is
engaging in "anti-competitive conduct" to maintain a monopoly
position over air transportation between its U.S. hubs and
US Airways Group Inc LCC.N also has claimed in a lawsuit
that Sabre shuts out competition and drives up prices.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust division is
probing whether third-party ticket-sellers have violated
antitrust law, with American Airlines, US Airways and Sabre
saying they have been contacted as part of the investigation.
American said that in addition to requesting injunctive
relief from the defendants' actions, the airline seeks
unspecified monetary damages.
The suit is American Airlines, Inc, vs. Sabre, Inc, a
Delaware corporation; Sabre Holdings Corporation, a Delaware
corporation and Sabre Travel International Ltd, a foreign
corporation, d/b/a Sabre Travel Network; Travelport Limited, a
foreign corporation, and Travelport, LP, and Orbitz Worldwide,
LLC No. 4:11-cv-00244-Y in United States District Court for the
Northern District Of Texas Fort Worth Division.
(Reporting by Kyle Peterson; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick
and Richard Chang)