Airline industry technology supplier SITA is facing another bout of legal action, this time from Syrian Arab Airlines, which has been cut off from the SITA e-ticketing and reservation network at the behest of the US government.
Earlier this week SITA lost a £20 million lawsuit in Nigeria after rival airline technology provider Maevis claimed it was wrongly axed from a technology contract covering four airports, and replaced by SITA. SITA says it is appealing the judgement.
SITA, which is owned by the airlines and run as a co-operative, is currently holding its annual Air Transport IT Summit in Brussels, although Syrian Arab Airlines isn't here.
The US government has initiated further sanctions against the Syrian government as it seeks to strengthen the position of Syrian rebels fighting in the country's continuing civil war.
SITA's service to Syrian Airlines has been targeted by the US government as it is served by data centres located in the US.
The move may also effect the airline's access to air traffic control information supplied by SITA. The US is believed to be considering implementing a no fly zone in parts of the country to help protect the rebels from the Syrian airforce.
The decision has brought threats of legal action against SITA from the airline, which has long-running contracts with the supplier to provide various key services, including ticketing and reservations support, air traffic control information, networked communications and mobile gadget wireless access.
Director-general of Syrian Arab Airlines Mousab Arslan claimed the US block "achieves political purposes for the countries which are supporting terrorism in Syria". The Syrian government refers to the rebels as "terrorists" ..
Syrian Arab Airlines says it was one of the international founder companies of the SITA network it has been cut off from.
Arslan said, "This move could have direct negative impacts on Syrian and foreign passengers. The decision came within a series of unjust sanctions imposed on the country."
Arslan said the airline was striving to find network and application alternatives to get round the cut-off.
He said the company was "taking legal measures" to "ensure the rights of the company" and to get "compensation for the damage caused to its work".
Four years ago the airline signed a seven-year contract with SITA to implement and maintain a "global hybrid network", which included establishing "one regional gateway to manage 47 IP connections in its offices worldwide", SITA said at the time.
When asked about its decision to cut Syrian Arab Airlines from its network and the threat of legal action as a result, a SITA spokesman would only say, "SITA has taken the necessary action in respect to Syrian Arab Airlines to comply with the change in US regulations."
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