Sabre to keep striving for a Southwest deal

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Southwest announced in January that it had ended full-content negotiations with Sabre.
Southwest announced in January that it had ended full-content negotiations with Sabre.

Sabre on Tuesday said it will continue to work toward an enhanced content deal with Southwest, following the carrier’s announcement about terminating their basic-booking arrangement on Dec. 31. 

“Southwest’s termination of its basic booking request contract has little to no bearing on the parties’ ongoing negotiations to secure a new distribution agreement and accounts for an inconsequential percentage of our global air bookings,” Sabre said in a statement Tuesday.

Southwest told Business Travel News on Monday that it will end the limited content agreement in place with Sabre since the 1990s. Under that arrangement, travel advisors can book Southwest flights but they can’t use the Sabre GDS for any ticket modifications other than cancellations. 

Southwest is scrapping its Sabre arrangement while ramping up full-participation deals with Travelport and Amadeus. Southwest is already in Travelport’s Worldspan, Galileo and Apollo systems for travel management company bookings, and a similar integration with Amadeus is due to be completed by the end of September.

Southwest announced in January that it had ended full-content negotiations with Sabre. Dave Harvey, vice president of Southwest Business, has reasserted since then that the two sides had ended talks. But on Tuesday a Southwest spokesman said that conversations between the companies had gone on until “very recently.”

Harvey told Business Travel News that it’s possible talks with Sabre could be revived later this year or next year.

Sabre said Tuesday that the sides “have continued to hold constructive discussions over the last several months to secure a new distribution agreement that is balanced and fair for both parties, offers relevant and meaningful content provisions for travel agents and provides value to travel buyers.”

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