AA-Travelport Content Deal Expires, Lawsuit Resumes After Failed Settlement Talks

American Airlines' contractual full-content obligations to Travelport expired after the two companies failed to reach a new deal through talks held during the temporary suspension of the carrier's antitrust lawsuit against the global distribution operator.

Travelport managing director 
of global distribution sales and service Derek Sharp on Tuesday 
alerted clients that the GDS operator "will no longer collect Content Continuity Program or Super Access Product fees for American bookings until further notice," referring to the fee-based opt-in programs that assure full content to Galileo and Worldspan subscribers, respectively.

"Although Travelport can no longer guarantee access to American's full content, we believe American intends to continue providing you with uninterrupted access to its content for display and sale through the Travelport GDSs while we continue to work towards a new agreement," according to Sharp's memo.

AA now is free to charge Galileo and Worldspan subscribers its $5.50 per-segment "Source Premium" fee, but an AA spokesperson indicated to The Beat that the carrier does not plan to do so "at this point." The carrier also confirmed that it "intends to provide uninterrupted access to its content for display and sale through the Travelport global distribution systems while we continue to work toward a new agreement so long as American is not disadvantaged by Travelport, and Travelport displays American's content in a fair and neutral manner."

The prospect for a new deal seemed promising last month, as the parties asked the federal court overseeing AA's lawsuit for additional time to pursue a settlement. In that Dec. 21 request, later approved by the court, AA and Travleport characterized settlement talks as "productive."

With the lawsuit stay now expired and the goal of a deal unmet, AA told The Beat that it "will continue to pursue our lawsuit, absent agreed-upon resolutions."

Sharp in his memo noted, "We have both committed to working towards a new long-term deal but, as of today, we have not been able to come to an agreement that Travelport believes will work for and serve the interests of all parties."