A federal jury on Tuesday awarded US Airways (now American Airlines) $5.1 million in damages in its lawsuit against Sabre, agreeing with the carrier that provisions in Sabre's contract were anticompetitive.

However, the jury did not agree with US Airways' antitrust claim that Sabre colluded with Amadeus and Travelport.

The split verdict comes more than five years after US Airways filed its lawsuit against Sabre in April 2011.

Sabre said in a statement Tuesday that it plans to challenge the verdict.

"To the extent the court declines to grant the motion to set aside the verdict, we will pursue an appeal," Sabre said.

The lawsuit alleged Sabre used "its massive power over airlines such as US Airways to entrench its antiquated and inefficient technological systems, to preserve its supra-competitive booking fees, and to harm competition."

US Airways alleged that Sabre held "monopoly power" and forced the airline to enter into a contract with the GDS "that contains numerous oppressive and anticompetitive terms designed by Sabre to harm competition and entrench Sabre's dominance." The contract required the carrier to provide Sabre with "full content."

Judge Lorna Schofield of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York handed the case to the jury last week after an eight-week trial. During the trial, US Airways argued that it had no choice but to accept the terms of its contract with Sabre, as more than one-third of its revenue came through the GDS. The airline was seeking a minimum of $44 million in damages.

"The jury sorted through a complicated case that involved hypothetical economic theories, intricate technology discussions, and months of testimony," Sabre said on Tuesday. "We continue to believe we operated fairly and lawfully in an extremely competitive marketplace."

In a statement, American Airlines said, "We are very pleased with the jury's decision and greatly appreciate the time and effort they expended during the course of this eight-week trial. We have long contended that the contractual provisions at issue -- provisions that Sabre has made a condition to participate in its global distribution system -- have reinforced Sabre's market power, stymied competition, and harmed us and the travelers we serve. Now that the jury has agreed with us, we hope to see changes in the way our services are sold, and we expect technology and innovation will create even better and more transparent ways for us to distribute our products."

Sabre said it will continue to work with American Airlines.


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