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American Air sues Orbitz

By Aaron Smith, staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- American Airlines has filed an antitrust suit against Orbitz Worldwide and its parent, the latest salvo in a long-simmering dispute over online airfares.

The airline wants Travelport and Orbitz, (OWW) which is 48% owned by Travelport, to use its direct connect technology to access airfares online. The two companies use a different type of technology called global distribution system.

American, which is owned by AMR Corp (AMR, Fortune 500)., said it targeted Travelport because it "effectively controls the distribution of fares" and "has engaged in anticompetitive conduct to protect its market positions from new competition by alternative technologies that are both less expensive and capable."

But Orbitz spokesman Brian Hoyt accused American of using "schoolyard bullying tactics to try and force us into submission."

"They're trying to force a distribution deal with us that is ultimately a negative for consumers," said Hoyt.

Travelport said in a press release that the lawsuit is "merely another attempt by AA to gain bargaining leverage through litigation" and that it will defend itself in the suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas.

American and Orbitz used to be partners, but they parted ways in December.

At that time, American also broke up with Expedia, but they patched things up and resumed their partnership on April 5. To top of page

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