Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

American and Delta Plans to Merge Systems Dumped

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

American and Delta Plans to Merge Systems Dumped

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) - American Airlines and Delta Air Lines on Thursday dropped plans to merge their computer reservation systems because the Justice Department threatened to sue to block the $2 billion joint venture.

``The likely result of this transaction would be higher fares and poorer service for airline passengers,'' Attorney General Dick Thornburgh said in a statement announcing the department's intention to file a civil antitrust suit.

Delta spokesman William Berry announced that the two carriers had given up trying to merge their computer. ``We decided it would take too much time to fight this in court,'' he said.

American operates Sabre, the leading system among the five used by practically all airlines and travel agents. Delta's system is Datas II, the smallest of the CRS - for computer reservation system - ventures.

``We feel that Justice is wrong,'' Berry said. ``We really were surprised. We felt that this partnership was giving the government what it wanted, in terms of taking the (reservation) systems out of the ownership of individual airlines, making it an autonomous company.''

Said Robert L. Crandall, chairman and president of American: ``While the decision clearly means that we cannot create a joint venture with another domestic airline that sponsors a competing CRS, we will continue to offer partnership interests in Sabre to domestic airlines which do not sponsor a competing CRS, to foreign airlines and to other interested companies.''

The computer systems provide up-to-the-minute information on video screens about schedules, fares, seat availability, hotels, car rentals and package vacations. They allow users to make reservations and issue tickets in seconds, and are the primary channel for the distribution of tickets. …

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