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American Airlines gets favorable antitrust verdict, and $1 in damages -Breaking

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A plane from American Airlines passes the U.S. Capitol and lands at Reagan National Airport, Arlington, Virginia. This was on January 24, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Jonathan Stempel, Mike Scarcella

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – A Federal Jury ruled Thursday in favor American Airlines (NASDAQ) Group Inc. The carrier was accused of charging too much and suppressing competition in a long-running lawsuit against Sabre (NASDAQ) Corp.

Following a three-week trial in Manhattan federal court, the jury reached a verdict after five days of deliberations.

After-hours trading saw Sabre shares rise by more than 33%

US Airways had brought the antitrust suit in 2011 before merging with Fort Worth-based American.

Sabre, located in Southlake Texas, manages an electronic network that travel agents use to search and book flights from airlines.

US Airways claimed that Sabre prevented travel agents from booking cheaper seats and had issued an unreasonably restrictive distribution agreement.

The jury found Sabre had harmed the carrier through willfully keeping monopoly power. However, there was no evidence that Sabre unlawfully restricted trade by challenging the contract.

American released a statement saying that they were pleased with the landmark decision. “We anticipate this decision will dissuade Sabre from further misconduct, and it will bring about the necessary competition in airline distribution.”

Sabre stated that it was disappointed by the verdict in the case of monopolization, however the $1 award was fair given the evidence. Sabre stated that it was happy with the verdict regarding the distribution agreement.

American was awarded $15.3 Million from Sabre during a 2016 trial. However, an appeals court overturned that award in 2019.

US Airways Inc v. Sabre Holdings Corp. This is U.S District Court, Southern District of New York.

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