City Pair Program Saves Billions for Federal Agencies

Aug 16, 2013, 09:45 ET from U.S. General Services Administration

Air travel program leverages government's buying power to save over $2 billion annually

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the U.S. General Services Administration announced the award of its cost-saving air travel contracts for 2014, which will save taxpayers approximately $2.2 billion a year. Under GSA's City Pair Program, airfare rates for the federal government's official travel are pre-negotiated and offer up to 59 percent off of commercial airfare for the federal workforce. In addition to offering considerable discounts, the City Pair Program allows the federal government additional flexibility in how it books air travel.

"GSA's mission is to help federal agencies save money, and that includes getting the best price for government travelers," said Tom Sharpe, Jr. Commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. "By leveraging the government's buying power, we are able to help federal agencies reduce travel costs and save billions of taxpayer dollars."

GSA's data-driven analytical approach to managing the program and negotiating with the carriers is driving greater cost savings and performance for the City Pair Program and the overall rates for 2014 are consistently below corporate benchmark rates in all top markets.

In 2014, the City Pair Program is expanding its reach, increasing available routes by 25 percent to more than 6,300 destinations.  Average one-way ticket prices for domestic flights have dropped four percent and international rates have dropped seven percent. Additionally, non-stop flights have been expanded by 20 percent to 1,887 routes.  

For the upcoming year, the City Pair Program retained all of the same benefits which contribute to greater savings, beyond ticket cost, for government. The program gives federal travelers the flexibility to book one- way, multi-leg, and round-trip airfare at the lowest cost possible, while retaining the ability to adjust or cancel flights at no additional cost to the government.  

Another positive trend for federal travelers is that many secondary markets that were not awarded in 2013, because lower commercial fares were readily available, were awarded and will be available in 2014. Following the 2013 decision to not award the secondary markets, instead directing federal travelers to the lower commercially-available rates, the airlines came back to GSA with competitive pricing in those markets this year, allowing for travelers to book lowest rates and receive the benefits associated with booking through City Pairs.

Ten 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 program also offers dual fare markets to provide flexibility for immediate travel and discounted fares for booking flights early.  The 2014 rates will become effective October 1, 2013.  

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

SOURCE U.S. General Services Administration