On Tuesday, British Airways began testing new inventory buckets in business and economy classes on Boston and Dubai routes, some of which only are available for purchase through the airline's direct channels or New Distribution Capability-compatible connections.
The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 13 will hear arguments from Sabre and American Airlines on their respective appeals of various rulings and decisions in the antitrust case, initially filed by US Airways in 2011, that a jury decided two years ago, according to a scheduling notice this week.
Sabre welcomed Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision on American Express' merchant provisions. The majority opinion "vindicates" Sabre in an antitrust contract claim it lost against US Airways and in its ongoing appeal, the global distribution system operator stated.
A consumer-led federal antitrust lawsuit filed in 2015 against the three major global distribution system operators has not achieved the class action status originally sought by plaintiffs, according to a court order this month.
Next month, Lufthansa Group will begin selling its "best fares" exclusively through direct channels. British Airways, too, has plans to withhold some price points for short-haul fares from the traditional agency channel. Several major U.S. airlines would like to do the same, if only they weren't bound by global distribution system contract provisions that Lufthansa, BA and other European airlines have declined.
The American Society of Travel Agents, Travel Technology Association, Travelers United and two economists are backing Sabre's appeal of the judgment in the US Airways antitrust case.
Sabre on Wednesday filed a brief in support of its appeal of the December 2016 verdict and related U.S. District Court judgment on the antitrust contract claim it defended against US Airways and American Airlines, which adopted the case after the airlines' merger.
Several major airlines filed nonparty briefs supporting American Airlines' request for a U.S. federal court to put a stronger judicial stamp on a jury's conclusion that Sabre's contractual provisions, as applied to US Airways, violated antitrust law.
The European Commission on Friday announced it has opened an investigation into Amadeus and Sabre to explore whether the agreements each has with airlines and travel agencies "restrict competition in breach of E.U. antitrust rules."
"US Airways brought a behemoth antitrust case and came away with almost nothing," Sabre starkly proclaimed in a court filing this week. In the filing, Sabre put a positive spin on the case that yielded US Airways, now American Airlines, a favorable jury verdict on one antitrust claim.