American Airlines’ litigation against Orbitz has been settled. The airline had sued Orbitz and other online air travel providers, claiming that the defendants were attempting to block American’s entry into the market. The lawsuit had been filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Fort Worth, where American’s parent corporation, AMR Corp., is based. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
American reached a settlement agreement in March with Travelport, an airfare data provider that also owns 48 percent of Orbitz. The two companies agreed to a new global distribution system. Last year, American reached a settlement with Sabre Holdings Corp., an online flight reservation provider. A jury trial had already begun in Texas state court when the Sabre settlement was reached. American had accused the companies of antitrust violations.
The resolution of the litigation against Orbitz is another step for AMR Corp. to emerge from bankruptcy protection. The bankruptcy court must still approve the settlement agreement. AMR Corp. recently announced plans for a merger with US Airways to form the world’s largest airline.
The dispute with Orbitz arose over the agency’s method of displaying information about the airline’s flights and fares. American wanted to introduce its own method of displaying information, which allows consumers to take into account information other than air fares. The lawsuit claimed that Orbitz displayed fares for American Airlines that were higher than they actually were. In 2010, American removed its fares from Orbitz, but the fares reappeared in June of 2011.