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Court Prevents American from Dropping Orbitz

A judge in Chicago has granted a restraining order that will prevent American from terminating its contracts with Orbitz on December 1, which the airline threatened to do earlier this month.

Over at Tnooz, Dennis Schall writes, “If American had gone ahead and terminated its contacts with Orbitz, as it had notified the online travel agency it would do Dec. 1, then American Airlines’ flights would have disappeared from”

According to Schall, it isn’t immediately clear why the restraining order was requested, or granted. “The order merely says the ‘temporary restraining order is granted for the reasons stated on the record,'” Schall writes, “which could mean reasons argued in the Travelport complaint or orally in court.”

The issue stems from American’s request that Orbitz use the airline’s own flight inventory distributor, rather than a third-party distribution program that accesses and disseminates American’s fares. Orbitz objected, and American threatened to terminate its contract. Orbitz sued, and now has been granted a restraining order. Orbitz CEO Barney Harford said American’s move was “a broad attack by American on the distribution landscape,” and that American’s plan would limit consumer choice. American, for its part, wants to lower costs and retain greater control over its product.

It’s not clear when the court will hear more information on the situation or issue a ruling.



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