Travelport is evaluating its options after a US federal judge granted a motion from American Airlines to dismiss antitrust claims against the carrier.
The latest development in the long-running saga over the carrier's now infamous Direct-Connect technology centres on a counter-claim made by Travelport filed in April last year after American filed an antitrust lawsuit against it and Orbitz.
Sabre was added later to the lawsuit.
Overseeing the District Court in Texas, Judge Terry Means said Travelport was unable to continue with is claim as it deemed not the appropriate entity to represent some segments of the industry.
"The competitors in these markets are airlines, and the consumers are travel agents and passengers. Travelport is neither."
Travelport has maintained that the carrier is withholding or has threatened to cut off access to product to GDSs and, therefore, forcing agencies to lock in to the Direct-Connect system.
The original antitrust lawsuit still holds and the arguments have not changed, but Travelport's position in the counter-claim (including how the airline is alleged to have a dominant market position on a number of domestic and international routes) is now languishing following the judgement.
In a statement, Eric Bock, executive vice president, chief legal officer and chief administrative officer at Travelport, said the company is "analyzing the opinion and our options".
"The court did not reach the substantive merits of Travelport’s allegations, but dismissed the claims on legal standing grounds. The court held that Travelport was not the appropriate party to bring these particular claims because the alleged harm caused by American would be 'suffered primarily by travel agents and passengers'.
"Essentially the court held that Travelport was not the appropriate party to defend consumers and travel agents against the alleged harm caused by AA’s monopolistic conduct."
Travelport says it intends to continue to "works in ways to protect the rights/defend travel agents and consumers".
An AA official adds in a statement:
"We are pleased by the court's decision dismissing Travelport's claims against American. These were meritless claims intended to take the focus off of the anticompetitive conduct of Travelport and Sabre.
"We remain open to amicably resolving our claims against the defendants, which remain pending, but absent an agreement that ends the anticompetitive practices and accounts for the harm done to American, we will continue to pursue our legal rights."