In a court filing, Sabre denied all wrongdoing alleged by Lufthansa Group in a suit that the airline company brought last month.
Sabre filed a counterclaim for breach of contract against the German airline group, raising the stakes of the Texas court battle.
A month ago, Lufthansa had sued, asking a judge to rule that its contract with Sabre permitted it to hire third-party technology companies to enable it to market and distribute its content outside of Sabre, Amadeus, and Travelport.
Sabre has countered that since September 1, 2015, Lufthansa has been in breach of its agreements because it has imposed a Euro 16 (roughly $18) surcharge on each ticket booked through the GDSs (Sabre, Amadeus, Travelport), while failing to impose that surcharge on bookings made through connections facilitated by third-party technology companies.
Each side is asking a judge to define what a GDS is and whether at least two other companies, specifically Farelogix (via its “SPRK” product) and Travelfusion, fit that definition.
In the filing, Sabre argues that Farelogix and Travelfusion are GDSs because:
"They (1) use some third-party (i.e. non-direct) sources of flight and fare
(2) do not offer travel agencies or corporate customers a connection directly into the Airlines’ internal reservation system,
(3) provide travel agencies with a compilation of content aggregated from multiple airlines, including non-Lufthansa Group airlines, as well as hotels, ground transportation, and other travel suppliers, and/or
(4) do not allow the Airlines’ customers to search for or book travel on any of the Airlines, but only allow travel agencies to book flights on behalf of airline customers."
Lufthansa disagrees, per its original suit.
Sabre claims that it tried talking to Lufthansa first. It says that, between December 2015 and February 2016, officers of both companies met on multiple occasions to discuss the issues. Lufthansa has not confirmed this account of events.
Sabre is asking the judge for compensatory damages for any lost bookings and other harms suffered resulting from the airline group’s alleged discriminatory enforcement of the “Distribution Cost Charge” or “DCC”. It also wants an end to the DCC fee.
One month ago: Lufthansa sues Sabre, as the tussle over the GDS surcharge escalates