The antitrust lawsuit US Airwaysfiled in April 2011 against Sabre Holdings, one of the three largest global distribution systems, will continue to be litigated, but the extent of what US Airways can get has been trimmed.
A federal judge said on Tuesday that US Airways, which recently merged with American Airlines, can continue to pursue its claim of damages against the airfare distributor for alleged booking fee overcharges--but only for the year-and-a-half up through October 2012, when Sabre and American settled a similar case.
A Sabre spokesperson referred Tnooz to its 8k filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission today, which says:
"Based on the ruling, the judge eliminated the claims related to a majority of the alleged damages as well as rejected a request that would require the Corporation to modify language in its customer contracts."
Given this ruling, the potential remaining range of single damages has been significantly reduced, which the corporation estimates to be by more than 75%.
Sabre adds that it plans to "vigorously" defend itself against the remaining claims.
Sabre has set aside $347 million for its settlement with American Airlines, according to its financial filings. Tnooz believes Sabre made an an out-of-court agreement to pay $280 million to American for the dismissal of the similar lawsuit.
US Airways's statement to Tnooz, via its parent company American Airlines Group:
“We are pleased the court has determined that US Airways may proceed to trial.
We believe Sabre’s actions have violated antitrust laws, and we’re looking forward to presenting that evidence to a jury. Sabre’s actions have stymied competition, limited choice and raised airline costs, all to the detriment of customers.”
US Airways says Sabre's action violated US business laws against the abuse of monopoly power. It asks the court to bar Sabre’s "exclusionary conduct and unreasonable agreements".
The airline alleges Sabre grossly inflated airline booking fees and conspired with Sabre’s competitors to resist its attempt at direct connect bookings.
It seeks treble damages for alleged overcharges, which under the time period newly limited by the judge would be $362 million.