FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines and US Airways are pulling flight listings from Orbitz-run websites in a dispute over fees that the travel company charges to list and sell the flights.
Shares of Orbitz Worldwide Inc. fell nearly 5 percent on Tuesday.
American said that it had already dropped its fares from Orbitz and that US Airways listings would be pulled on Monday.
Corporate customers of the airlines will still be able to book travel through Orbitz, but individuals will have to go to the airlines' websites or other travel agents, including online rivals of Orbitz such as Expedia Inc.
American's withdrawal extends to Orbitz's other websites, such as CheapTickets and European-based ebookers.com. However, those sites were still selling seats on American flights that were listed by American's so-called code-sharing partners, including British Airways and Japan Airlines.
Because of that quirk, and the fact that corporate travel will be unaffected, the impact of American's decision is likely to be felt mostly by Orbitz customers booking leisure travel within the U.S.
It's a replay of a fight that started four years ago, and it's all about money.
Scott Kirby, president of American Airlines Group Inc., which owns both airlines, said that his company "worked tirelessly with Orbitz to reach a deal with the economics that allow us to keep costs low and compete with low-cost carriers." One such airline, Southwest — which doesn't list on Orbitz either — saves on commissions by selling 80 percent of its tickets on its own website.
Orbitz suggested that American has the most to lose in the latest dispute.
"Our sites offer hundreds of airlines which are eager to capture the revenue American is choosing to forego," Orbitz spokeswoman Marita Hudson Thomas said in a statement, "and we will continue to show our customers a broad range of flight options to thousands of destinations in the U.S. and worldwide."
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