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GSA’s City Pair Program Saves Billions for Federal Agencies

Air travel program leverages government’s buying power to save more than $2 billion annually

WASHINGTON — The U.S. General Services Administration awarded its Fiscal Year 2016 City Pair Program air travel contracts which will save the government approximately $2.35 billion next year. Under GSA’s City Pair Program, airfare rates for the federal government’s official travel are pre-negotiated and firm-fixed-price, offering a 52 percent discount on comparable commercial fares. In addition to offering considerable discounts, the City Pair Program allows the federal government maximum flexibility in how it books air travel, with benefits such as no cancellation or change fees.

FAS Commissioner Tom Sharpe said:

“GSA’s mission is to help federal agencies save money, and that includes getting the best price for government travelers. By leveraging the government’s buying power through the City Pair Program, we help federal agencies reduce travel costs and save billions of taxpayer dollars.”

Seven major U.S. carriers were awarded contracts. When awarding City Pair contracts to airlines, GSA considers a number of criteria, including availability of non-stop service, total number of flights, flight availability, average elapsed flight time, availability of jet service, and price of service. The 2016 rates will become effective October 1, 2015.

Key Facts

  • GSA’s data-driven analytical approach to managing the program and negotiating with the airlines and carriers drives cost savings and program performance.  
  • Average, pre-negotiated, one-way ticket prices for FY2016 dropped 3% overall from last year’s prices at a time when commercial airfares have risen 3% year to date in 2015.  
  • The City Pair Program continues to significantly expand its global reach; total markets awarded are up 16% in 2016 to 9,160, compared to 7,894 markets last year.   
  • This year, the number of dual-fare markets increased by 24% from 6,921 to 8,564. Dual fare markets provide flexibility in discounted fares for immediate travel and more deeply discounted fares for booking flights early.  Federal Travelers have more opportunities to take advantage of lower fares with the same great CPP benefits. By offering more of the deeply discounted fares, there is an estimated incremental savings of $34 million annually.   

For more information on the Airline City Pair Program or to view air fares, please visit Airline City Pairs.

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Last Reviewed 2015-08-13