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Airlines

Orbitz shares drop after American pulls flights

* American Airlines pulled flights from site after ruling

* Analyst cites competitive disadvantage

* Shares off 5.7 pct

ATLANTA, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Shares of Orbitz Worldwide OWW.N tumbled nearly 6 percent on Wednesday, the day after American Airlines pulled its flights from the company's travel websites.

American, a unit of AMR Corp AMR.N, said on Tuesday that it would stop displaying and selling fares on Orbitz after a Circuit Court judge in Illinois denied a request for an injunction seeking to prevent that move.

Soleil Securities analyst Jake Fuller said in a note to clients on Wednesday that American's move put Orbitz at a "competitive disadvantage." Its rivals include Priceline.com PCLN.O and Expedia EXPE.O.

“At a time when our checks suggest that (Orbitz) is already losing share in the U.S. (online travel agency) air category, the loss of AMR could lead to further erosion and deceleration in U.S. bookings growth,” Fuller said in his note.

Orbitz said after the ruling on Tuesday that it was continuing to seek an arrangement with American to distribute the carrier’s tickets.

Revenue earned on American tickets and related products such as destination services, car, hotel and insurance booked on Orbitz sites accounted for about 5 percent of total net revenue of $575.1 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, the company said.

Shares of Orbitz were down 5.7 percent at $6.07 in morning trading, while Expedia was off 1.0 percent at $26.93. Priceline.com was up 3.2 percent at $419.89 after ThinkEquity upgraded the stock to “buy” from “hold.” (Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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