Travelport, AA settle bitter feud

Travelport, AA settle bitter feud
By admin

Travelport and American Airlines have settled their antagonistic two-year legal battle as they signed a long term global agreement.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed and must be approved by the court overseeing the restructuring of AA parent AMR Corporation.

AA had accused Travelport of colluding with other reservations systems to stifle competition to the detriment of the airline. The action followed the creation of AA's direct connect distribution system which aimed to bypass GDSs and go straight to travel agents, a move which infuriated the technology firm.

A joint statement said: "American and Travelport resolved all litigation between themselves. The terms of the settlement agreement require review and approval by the court presiding over AMR Corporation's restructuring."

The end of the dispute came as Travelport, which owns Galileo and Worldspan, and AA struck a new global agreement.

The companies said they plan to use both the GDS's Universal API technology and American's XML-based direct connect interface to make additional product available to agents, including the airline's Main Cabin Extra seating option.

Travelport becomes the first GDS to sell the product which offers more legroom and priority boarding.

After two years of a sometimes antagonistic war of words, Travelport and AA were at pains to heap praise on each other in the joint statement.

"Travelport deserves praise for working with American to create a solution that can display all of our product options to travel agents in a transparent, customer-friendly way that can also clearly differentiate American's products from other airlines," AA vice president of global sales Derek DeCross said.

The compliment was reciprocated with Dan Westbrook, Travelport vice president and general manager of global distribution sales and service, saying: "American is an industry leader and the perfect partner in which to build upon Travelport's airline partnership approach to merchandising, optional ancillary sales and product differentiation."

He added: "All of our subscribers will continue to access American's full content, while American can merchandise its full line of products through Travelport, providing consumers and travellers a transparent marketplace and the ability to shop and book all services at their channel of choice."

Meanwhile, the technology firm reported a 10% decline in its 2012 year-end profits yesterday with the loss of its Master Services Agreement with United following the merger with Continental blamed for the fall.

Earnings before interest and tax fell from US$507 million in 2011 to US$455m. Revenue dipped 2% to just over US$2b.

But president and chief executive Gordon Wilson remained upbeat.

"Our key underlying business performance indicators of RevPas and Gross Margin have improved every quarter of this year compared to 2011," he said.


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