American Express has become the second travel management company to agree in principle to sign up to American Airlinesâ€™ Direct Connect system.
The move follows an announcement by rival TMC HRG earlier this month.
Amex said it will explore a â€œlong-term arrangement for the benefit of corporate clientsâ€ with the airline.
It said under this arrangement, American Express Global Business Travel would receive guaranteed direct long-term access to AA's fares, schedules, and customized travel products and services via AA's Direct Connect link.
American Airlines is currently in litigation with both the Travelport and Sabre GDSs and many in the industry fear this is the beginning of a major shift in the distribution process.
The dispute between the companies centres on the cost of appearing on the GDSs and American's desire to drive bookings through its own online Direct Connect channel.
Despite the litigation, all parties are continuing to negotiate.
American recently agreed to an extension of its full content agreement with Travelport, while Sabre's full-content agreement with American is due to expire on August 31.
If an agreement is not reached, it is thought American will seek an injunction against Sabre at the end of August.
by Bev Fearis
Monday, August 22, 2011