UPDATE 2-Ruling allows American to pull flights from Orbitz

* Request for injunction denied by Illinois court

* Orbitz confident it can replace much of lost business
(Adds Orbitz and American Airlines quotes, case citation)

ATLANTA, Dec 21 (BestGrowthStock) – AMR Corp’s (AMR.N: ) American
Airlines said on Tuesday it would no longer sell flights on
online travel agency Orbitz Worldwide (OWW.N: ) after a ruling
from an Illinois court.

The carrier said it would stop displaying and selling fares
through Orbitz and Orbitz for Business. It said in a statement
that American tickets were available through other outlets,
including its own website and Priceline.com (PCLN.O: ).

On Tuesday, Judge Martin Agran of the Circuit Court of Cook
County denied a request for an injunction filed by Travelport
LP, which owns a 48 percent share in Orbitz, seeking to prevent
American from pulling its flights.

American had warned earlier this year that it would stop
selling tickets on Orbitz on Dec. 1 if Orbitz did not use a
direct link to the airline’s inventory. A court in November
temporarily blocked that move.

“In the near term, we believe that if American
Airlines removes its flights from our websites, most of the
impacted ticket volume will be replaced by other suppliers, and
we will continue to earn most of the associated ancillary
revenue,” Orbitz Chief Executive Barney Harford said in an
interview.

He said Orbitz was continuing to seek an arrangement with
American to distribute the carrier’s tickets on Orbitz sites.

Revenue earned on American Airlines tickets and related
products such as destination services, car, hotel and insurance
booked on Orbitz sites accounted for about 5 percent of total
revenue for the nine months ended Sept. 30, the online travel
company said. For the nine months, Orbitz reported net revenue
of $575.1 million.

Harford said Orbitz had not heard from other major airlines
wanting to take actions similar to American’s. “That is not a
major concern of ours at this stage,” Harford said.

American has long said it needs to cut distribution costs
and contends the model used by online travel agencies prevents
it from offering the lowest possible fares.

“In today’s competitive marketplace, it is important for
American to be free to customize its product offerings to
improve the customer experience as well as distribute its
products in a way that does not result in unnecessary costs,”
American said in a statement hailing the ruling.

Shares of Orbitz closed up 3.5 percent at $6.44 on the New
York Stock Exchange on Tuesday while AMR closed up 1.8 percent
at $8.05.

The case is Travelport LP vs. American Airlines, Circuit
Court of Cook County, Illinois, County Department, Chancery
Division, No. 10-CH 48028.
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs, additional reporting by John
Crawley in Washington, editing by Matthew Lewis)

UPDATE 2-Ruling allows American to pull flights from Orbitz