American extends content agreement with Travelport

American extends content agreement with Travelport

American Airlines and Travelport have temporarily set aside a row over fare distribution whichs threaten to transform the existing global distribution system (GDS) model.

GDS-owner Travelport and American issued a joint statement announcing: “The existing full content agreements between American and Travelport’s global distribution systems Apollo, Galileo and Worldspan have been extended concurrently and are no longer due to expire in 2011. [The] terms of Travelport’s subscriber opt-in programmes for American remain unchanged.”

The pair gave no further details and declined to comment. But it is understood the companies have been negotiating while preparing competing lawsuits alleging anti-competitive behaviour.

The dispute first reached court in the US in Illinois in December after American terminated an agreement with online travel agent Orbitz, which is part-owned by Travelport. At the back of this lay the carrier’s desire to renegotiate the terms of its appearance on GDS displays – a bone of contention for most full-service airlines – as part of which American sought to drive bookings via its own online Direct Connect system.

American’s action led to a wide belief that other carriers would follow suit in attempting to cut GDS distribution costs. Travel management companies (TMCs) have come to accept a change is inevitable, and British Airways head of UK sales Richard Tams said recently: “The GDS model is broken . . . we’re open to ideas on a new model.”

However, fall-out in the UK has been minimal since American withdrew a threat early in the year to issue agency debit memos for charges levied on fares sold through Travelport GDSs. There will be relief at the extension of existing full-content agreements, but TMCs will wait to see the full outcome of negotiations and litigation in the US before passing judgment.

A separate but similar dispute between Sabre and American remains the subject of competing antitrust claims in Texas.


This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.

More in air