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GSA Awards Contracts for Unrestricted Discount Air Fares on 6,100 RoutesNew fares average 62% less than unrestricted commercial fares; more routes increase service

GSA #9343

September 23, 1996
Contact: Hap Connors

Building on improvements made last year in its "city pairs" program, the U.S. General Services Administration has awarded contracts to 18 airlines for discount rates on over 6,100 domestic and international routes for federal travelers that are expected to save $2.4 billion during the upcoming fiscal year.

David J. Barram, GSA's Acting Administrator, said that the new fares are on average 62% below unrestricted commercial rates, even better than last year's average of 56%. He said that the new contract offer 1,000 more routes than the old contracts and that non-stop service will be available in 1,436 markets, up from 1,300 markets under the old contracts. "The increased service and reduced prices reflect GSA's continuing commitment to using business-like practices and negotiations to bring down the costs of running the federal government," Barram said.

Vice President Al Gore said, "From his earliest days in office, President Clinton has worked to give the American people a government that works better and costs less. That's been the focus of the National Performance Review, where we're working to put common sense back into government. The improvements to GSA's city pairs program are proof that we are getting results."

The one-year contracts, effective October 1, 1996, permit the federal government to take advantage of discounts offered by the airline industry on terms and conditions suitable to government travel. Most airlines periodically offer the public special fares, but restrictions such as departure times or lengths of stay usually prevent the government from using them.

Under the special rates, a one-way ticket from Boston to New York will cost $56; from New York to Washington, $56; from Los Angeles to Washington, $98; and from Chicago to Washington, $54.

The contracts feature several advantages over commercial fares:

Significantly lower, unrestricted fares. There are no advance purchase or length of stay requirements.
Fully refundable tickets. There is no charge for cancellations or for schedule changes.
No capacity-controlled seating. As long as there is a coach class seat available on the plane, the government traveler can purchase it at the contract fare.
No 'blackout' periods.
No price changes throughout the length of the contract. Federal agencies can better manage their travel budgets.

Awards were made to the following airlines:

Carrier Number of City Pairs Estimated
Alaska AS 38 $13,772,228
America Trans Air TZ 1 $61,263
America West HP 21 $5,318,983
American AA 796 $230,535,654
Atlantic Coast DH 26 $5,922,804
Continental CO 345 $80,378,085
Delta DL 1,410 $367,324,174
Midway J1 47 $4,190,157
Midwest Express YX 14 $2,463,583
Northwest NW 856 $222,793,481
Reno QQ 15 $5,887,631
Southwest WN 235 $26,280,966
Tower FF 2 $881,243
Trans States 9N 7 $1,640,207
TWA TW 424 $125,997,526
United UA 934 $238,504,164
USAir US 975 $230,477,655
World Airways WO 1 $140,171

Each year, the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Service awards contracts for air transportation for travelers on official government travel under the city pair program. The contracts are awarded competitively based on the best overall value to the government. The best value decision is based on considerations of the type, distribution, and number of flights, the average flight time and the offered price.

Last Reviewed 2010-04-30