Chapter 11 evidently won't inhibit American Airlines' direct-connect efforts. It also shouldn't disrupt its legal wrangling with Sabre, according to documents the global distribution provider filed this week with the bankruptcy court.
"American has informed Sabre that it intends to litigate its claims aggressively, notwithstanding its bankruptcy filing," according to Sabre's filing, which seeks court permission to deploy all the legal tools it would use if AMR were solvent.
Since Chapter 11 provides debtors like AMR with protection from certain legal actions, Sabre must get permission to fully "assert its claims against American" in two ongoing lawsuits as well as "any future actions that may be commenced by American," according to Sabre's request. If approved, the motion also would enable Sabre to file new counterclaims against AA, as the carrier recently has against Sabre.
According to the filing, American told Sabre that it does not oppose its request, potentially easing the way for a bankruptcy court judge to grant the motion. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Dec. 22.
American and Sabre are embroiled in two cases: a federal antitrust suit filed by AA that also includes Travelport as a defendant and a state suit filed by AA, set for jury trial in June 2012.
In the federal antitrust suit, a judge last month dismissed several of AA's claims against Sabre and Travelport. However, the carrier this month filed under seal an amended complaint that in addition to previous claims allowed by the judge includes new allegations "based on newly discovered evidence," according to AA.
Those include claims "that Sabre unlawfully organized a group boycott against American, and that Sabre and Travelport illegally conspired with each other to prevent competition from American's direct connect technology."
In its filing with the bankruptcy court, Sabre "denies these allegations," but it "has not filed an answer or counterclaims in response thereto."