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American sends Orbitz shares tumbling after pulling airfares in dispute

A framegrab from the Orbitz website.

NYT

American Airlines Group Inc. sent shares of Orbitz Worldwide Inc. tumbling the most in three months after pulling fares from the online reservation service in a dispute over a new contract.

The move is effective immediately for data from the company's American Airlines unit. Fares from merger partner US Airways will disappear Sept. 1 after its accord expires, Fort Worth, Tex.-based American said Tuesday in a statement.

American, the world's largest airline, said it expects "minimal disruptions" for customers. Tickets purchased through Orbitz remain valid, although changes to existing reservations now must be made on each airline's reservation sites, according to American, which also withdrew information from Orbitz in a 2010 dispute.

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"We have worked tirelessly with Orbitz to reach a deal with the economics that allow us to keep costs low and compete with low-cost carriers," American president Scott Kirby said in the statement. "While our fares are no longer on Orbitz, there are a multitude of other options available for our customers."

Telephone and e-mail messages left for comment with Chicago-based Orbitz weren't immediately returned.

The company's shares slumped 4.6 per cent to $8.04 (U.S.) at 12:43 p.m. in New York, paring a drop of as much as 5.7 per cent that was the biggest in intraday trading since May 20. American slid 0.4 per cent to $39.26.

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