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City Pair Program: 40+ Years of Travel Savings for the Federal Government

| Tim Burke
Post filed in: City Pair

In 1980, GSA’s City Pair Program (CPP), the federal government program that negotiates firm-fixed pricing on airline seats, launched as a way of saving money on official federal government air travel. In year one, flights were available between 11 geographic markets throughout the country.

Fast-forward more than 40 years and the landscape has changed dramatically. In Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022), CPP will serve 12,626 total markets and is expected to save taxpayers an estimated $1.1 billion. Using decades of data, CPP determines the most widely used air travel city pairings and negotiates rates for those routes.

CPP is one of GSA’s largest annual Federal Acquisition Services (FAS) contracts. In fact, it’s the single largest strategically sourced procurement for negotiated airline fares in the world!

All federal agencies use CPP, including the DOD and members of Congress. It touches all levels and all corners of government. By locking in ticket prices for the fiscal year, we’re able to save federal agencies time and money whenever they need official government travel.

All negotiated rates have these great benefits:

  • flexibility to book one-way, multi-leg, and round-trip tickets,
  • lenient refund policies,  
  • ability to adjust or cancel flights at no additional cost, 
  • unrestricted time limits on ticketing, 
  • no advance purchase requirements,
  • no blackout periods.

The CPP program not only allows the federal government to save, but it also enables federal employees flexibility to change their plans at a moment’s notice in order to respond to changing mission needs, without incurring penalties or additional costs.

Under the FY 2022 awards, the average price for CPP domestic fares will decrease to $209, versus $216 in FY 2021. Average international fares awarded will see a slight increase to $746 from $740 in FY 2021.

Eight air carriers received FY 2022 CPP awards: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.

The new fares become effective October 1, 2021, and most are available to book starting August 2, 2021. To learn more about the awards and the program, check out GSA’s City Pair Program