Diller speculates about Expedia-American Airlines settlementNewsBy Dennis Schaal | March 29, 2011Share This article was originally published on Is Expedia Inc. close to a settlement with American Airlines or is it just a hope?Those sorts of questions came to the fore when a Dow Jones story from Singapore today stated that Barry Diller, the chairman of Expedia, expects the company to reach a settlement with American Airlines soon.However, the only direct quote from Diller in the story expressed more of a desire than a timetable."We are in (a) dispute with American that's gone for too long," Diller was quoted as saying at a news conference in Singapore. "What we would like will be that we and American can be back in business soon."Diller was in Singapore to announce an Expedia partnership with Air Asia.The Expedia chairman's statement comes as at least one analyst says Expedia has been feeling the sting from American Airlines' absence on Expedia websites.Expedia didn't immediately respond to an inquiry seeking clarification of Diller's comments.While American and Expedia representatives have been conducting negotiations, there have been no signals that any breakthrough is imminent.American's flights were pulled off Expedia sites Jan. 1 over a dispute about economics and direct-connect technology.In addition to the talks between American and Expedia, the airline is also believed to be negotiating with Sabre and Travelport on global distribution system contracts.And, the American-Travelport meetings also are believed to be addressing the American-Orbitz Worldwide dispute. Travelport controls Orbitz Worldwide and the airline removed its flights from Orbitz last year when the online travel agency declined to use American Airlines' direct-connect technology.Meanwhile, American Airlines is slated to implement its partnership with Japan Airlines April 1.Prior to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, the partnership and the promise of increased business might have been kicked off to great fanfare, and would have served as a counter-point to American's struggles over the direct-connect issue in the U.S.But, given the tragedy in Japan, American isn't expected to make any big announcements about the beginning of the partnership on Friday.