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GSA "City Pairs" Airline Contracts Will Save Government $2 Billion Next Year Government Travelers to Fly at 70% Less than Commercial Rate

GSA #9603

September 1, 1999
Contact: April Kaufman 202/501-1231
Jeff Koses 703/305-7261

WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has negotiated rates for over 4,000 routes with U.S. airlines that are projected to save the federal government an estimated $2 billion next year.

Through the contracts, 14 airlines will provide heavily discounted air fares to the government for official travelers on 3,837 domestic and 433 international routes, with about 500 additional routes to be added by the end of September. The contracts are commonly referred to as "City Pairs."

"Our City Pairs air fare rates are a great example of how GSA's expertise negotiating contracts saves the government billions of dollars every year," said GSA Administrator Dave Barram. Barram added that GSA began negotiating contracts for federal travelers in 1980.

This year's City Pairs contracts will continue to make hassle-free tickets available to federal travelers at about 70% less than unrestricted coach fares offered to the general public. The contract awards and prices are effective October 1, 1999, through September 30, 2000.

Even as private industry increasingly requires its travelers to purchase tickets at least 7 days in advance, stay over Saturday nights, and take circuitous routings, the government's contract fares continue to be unrestricted.

In addition to significantly lower fares, GSA's City Pairs give customers several advantages over commercial fares:

No advance purchase is required.
No minimum or maximum length of stay is required.
The tickets are fully refundable. There is no charge for cancellations or for schedule changes.
The seats are not capacity controlled. As long as there is a coach class seat available on the plane, it can be purchased at the contracted fare.
There are no blackout periods.
The price will not change throughout the length of the contract, enabling agencies to better plan their travel budgets.

Under the City Pairs contract rates, a non-stop, one-way ticket to Washington's Reagan National airport from Chicago O'Hare will cost $53; from Boston, $76; and from Los Angeles, $99. Discounts are generally greater in larger markets.
In the evaluation criteria this year, considerable weight was again given to customers' strong preference for nonstop service. Nonstop service was awarded in 1,674 markets - 100 more markets with nonstop service than were awarded last year.

Fewer City Pairs routes were issued this year than in the past. Changing travel patterns by the Department of Defense and other agencies means service is no longer required to several cities, and GSA increased competitiveness for international travel by using major gateway airports, such as LAX and Washington Dulles, rather than individual contracts from local airports for flights abroad.

Awards were made to the following airlines:

Carrier City Pairs Estimated $ Value
Delta Airlines 777 $ 141,821,346
U.S. Airways 772 $ 205,038,880
American Airlines 661 $ 147,290,411
United Airlines 584 $ 193,303,250
TransWorld Airlines 346 $ 50,793,887
Southwest Airlines 320 $ 37,279,201
Northwest Airlines 296 $ 72,606,677
Continental Airlines 267 $ 48,468,620
America West 118 $ 16,603,490
Alaska Airlines 83 $ 17,622,792
AirTran 39 $ 8,292,668
Midway Airlines 34 $ 3,900,885
Midwest Express 23 $ 8,102,207
American Trans Air 6 $ 68,208

TOTAL 4,276 $ 951,192,522

Each year, GSA's Federal Supply Service awards contracts for air transportation for official government travel under the City Pairs program. The contracts are competitively awarded, based on the best overall value to the government. Average flight time, offered price, and the type, distribution, and number of flights are all considered in determining the best value.

Last Reviewed 2010-11-01