B-198298(2),L/M, MAY 19, 1980

B-198298(2),L/M: May 19, 1980

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WE HAVE DECIDED TO GRANT THE REQUESTED EXEMPTION FOR A 1-YEAR TEST PERIOD. A COPY OF OUR LETTER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE IS ENCLOSED. NOTE THAT WE HAVE REQUESTED THAT PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTATION OF ITS PLAN. WE ALSO INDICATED THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE SHOULD ADVISE INTERESTED TRAVEL AGENTS THAT THE AIRLINES ARE PROHIBITED FROM PAYING COMMISSIONS TO TRAVEL AGENTS FOR GOVERNMENT AIR TRAVEL UNDER AN AIR TRAFFIC CONFERENCE AGREEMENT RESOLUTION FILED WITH THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD. WE BELIEVE THE PROPOSAL TO CONDUCT A TEST IS FEASIBLE. WE BELIEVE THAT THIS TEST WILL AID OUR PURPOSE IN ISSUING OUR CIRCULAR. THE DEVELOPMENT OF INFORMATION WHICH WILL HELP DECIDE WHETHER SAVINGS AND EFFICIENCIES WILL RESULT FROM THE USE OF TRAVEL AGENTS FOR PROCURING OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT TRAVEL AND WHETHER THE PROHIBITION SHOULD BE LIFTED ON A PERMANENT BASIS.

B-198298(2),L/M, MAY 19, 1980

SUBJECT: YOUR LETTER OF MAY 5, 1980

PHILIP R. ARCHER, AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA:

WE APPRECIATE YOUR COMMENTS CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE REQUEST FOR AN EXEMPTION FROM OUR REGULATIONS IN 4 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS 52.3(A). BASED ON THE REVIEW OF THE PROPOSAL BY OUR LEGAL AND AUDIT STAFF WHICH INCLUDED CONSIDERATION OF COMMENTS SUBMITTED BY YOU AND THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, WE HAVE DECIDED TO GRANT THE REQUESTED EXEMPTION FOR A 1-YEAR TEST PERIOD.

A COPY OF OUR LETTER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE IS ENCLOSED. NOTE THAT WE HAVE REQUESTED THAT PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTATION OF ITS PLAN, THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE CONSULT WITH THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION WITH REGARD TO THE SELECTION OF A TRAVEL AGENT, THE EVALUATION CRITERIA AND THE MANNER OF PAYMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES. WE ALSO INDICATED THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE SHOULD ADVISE INTERESTED TRAVEL AGENTS THAT THE AIRLINES ARE PROHIBITED FROM PAYING COMMISSIONS TO TRAVEL AGENTS FOR GOVERNMENT AIR TRAVEL UNDER AN AIR TRAFFIC CONFERENCE AGREEMENT RESOLUTION FILED WITH THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD.

ALTHOUGH WE RECOGNIZE THAT SEVERAL OF YOUR CONCERNS REGARDING THE PROPOSAL MAY BE WELL-FOUNDED, WE BELIEVE THE PROPOSAL TO CONDUCT A TEST IS FEASIBLE. MOREOVER, WE BELIEVE THAT THIS TEST WILL AID OUR PURPOSE IN ISSUING OUR CIRCULAR, THE DEVELOPMENT OF INFORMATION WHICH WILL HELP DECIDE WHETHER SAVINGS AND EFFICIENCIES WILL RESULT FROM THE USE OF TRAVEL AGENTS FOR PROCURING OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT TRAVEL AND WHETHER THE PROHIBITION SHOULD BE LIFTED ON A PERMANENT BASIS. IN THIS CONNECTION, WE EXPECT THAT THE RESULTS OF BOTH THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE TESTS WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC. OF COURSE, WE WILL ALSO CONTINUE TO REQUEST YOUR COMMENTS IN REGARD TO ANY PROPOSED SUSPENSION OF OUR PROHIBITION ON THE USE OF TRAVEL AGENTS.