American Airlines wins $15 million in antitrust case against Sabre

Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:22pm EST
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O: Quote) on Tuesday won about $15.3 million in an antitrust lawsuit that accused airline booking service Sabre Corp (SABR.O: Quote) of harming competition and charging grossly inflated booking fees.

The Manhattan federal jury awarded nearly $5.1 million, a fraction of the up to $73 million American Airlines was seeking at trial. But the sum automatically will be tripled under federal antitrust law.

American Airlines was suing under the name of US Airways, the carrier it merged with in 2013. US Airways had filed the lawsuit in 2011.

American Airlines welcomed the verdict, saying it hoped the jury's finding that Sabre had violated federal antritrust law in a 2011 contract with US Airways could result in changes in how the airline's services are sold.

The jury rejected a separate claim that Sabre conspired with its competitors to not compete with each other.

Sabre said in a statement that it continued to believe it had operated "fairly and lawfully." The company said it would seek to have the verdict set aside and, if unsuccessful, pursue an appeal.

Following the verdict, Sabre shares closed at $25.15, down 35 cents, or 1.4 percent, on Nasdaq.

The case concerned fees that Sabre and other travel reservation systems collect from airlines to display flights for booking.   Continued...

An American Airlines plane is pictured during its approach to Los Angeles International airport in Los Angeles, California February 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni