American Airlines lashed out at Sabre Holdings on Wednesday, claiming that the computerized ticket-distribution company planned to improperly share the airline's information with other companies.
Sabre, which sells airline tickets and provides fare and schedule information to travel agents, announced a deal with competitor Amadeus this week to share information if one of them loses access to an airline.
Officials with Southlake-based Sabre say the partnership is an insurance policy that will ensure that travel agents can distribute tickets from all the major airlines.
But American executives said Wednesday that the deal will hurt their position when negotiating with the two companies.
American's contracts with Sabre and Amadeus expire this year, and the airline hopes to reduce its ticket-distribution costs with leaner deals.
"We lose some leverage," said David Cush, American's vice president and general sales manager.
"This reduces our ability to go in and get the best deal possible."
Fort Worth-based American spends more than $300 million annually on computerized distribution and hopes to cut that with new contracts with the four major distributors. The airline is also exploring partnerships with new firms like G2 Switchworks, which provides the service at a fraction of the cost.
In addition to reducing American's leverage, Cush said the partnership violates provisions of its contract with Sabre that prohibit sharing American's information.
But Sabre spokesman Michael Berman said the deal is proper.
"The ultimate beneficiaries of this agreement are travelers who can now be assured that their travel agent will continue to be able to service the full range of their travel needs," he said.
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