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
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.”