B-50191, JUNE 18, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 893

B-50191: Jun 18, 1945

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AIR TRAVEL IS TO BE PERFORMED BY CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES VIA AIRLINES OPERATED BY THE AIR TRANSPORT COMMAND OF THE ARMY OR THE NAVAL AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE. THE USE OF COMMERCIAL EXTRA-FARE PLANE SERVICE MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY COMPETENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY UPON THE SAME BASIS AS THE USE OF EXTRA-FARE TRAINS IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH 15 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. 1945: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 14. EMPLOYEES OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION ARE OFTEN REQUIRED TO TRAVEL UNDER CONDITIONS WHERE A CONSIDERABLE SAVING OF TIME MAY BE EFFECTED IF THE SERVICES OF THE AIR TRANSPORT COMMAND OF THE ARMY OR THE NAVAL AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE MAY BE UTILIZED.

B-50191, JUNE 18, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 893

TRAVEL OF FEDERAL PERSONNEL BY ARMY - AND NAVY-OPERATED AIRLINES; USE OF EXTRA-FARE PLANES PROVIDED TRAVEL OF FEDERAL PERSONNEL VIA AIRLINES OPERATED BY THE ARMY AND NAVY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY COMPETENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY AS MEETING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS PRESCRIBED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9492 WITH REGARD TO TRANSPORTATION OF CIVILIANS BY SAID AIRLINES FOR "A REASONABLE CHARGE (NOT LESS THAN THE CURRENT COMMERCIAL RATES * * *)," SUCH TRAVEL MAY BE REGARDED AS WITHIN THE PURPOSE AND INTENT OF SECTION 204 (C) OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ACT OF 1938, AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT WITHOUT REGARD TO COMPARATIVE COSTS BY OTHER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION, AND PARAGRAPH 8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, DEFINING TRANSPORTATION AS INCLUDING TRAVEL ON AIRLINES. WHEN, PURSUANT TO EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9492, AIR TRAVEL IS TO BE PERFORMED BY CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES VIA AIRLINES OPERATED BY THE AIR TRANSPORT COMMAND OF THE ARMY OR THE NAVAL AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE, GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS MAY BE USED AS EVIDENCE OF PERFORMANCE OF THE TRANSPORTATION SERVICE. THE USE OF COMMERCIAL EXTRA-FARE PLANE SERVICE MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY COMPETENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY UPON THE SAME BASIS AS THE USE OF EXTRA-FARE TRAINS IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH 15 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, JUNE 18, 1945:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 14, 1945, AS FOLLOWS:

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9492 AUTHORIZES THE AIR TRANSPORT COMMAND OF THE ARMY AND THE NAVAL AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE TO TRANSPORT CIVILIANS, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, FOR "A REASONABLE CHARGE (NOT LESS THAN THE CURRENT COMMERCIAL RATES, IF ANY, IN TARIFFS ON FILE WITH THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD, FOR TRANSPORTATION AND ACCOMMODATIONS OF A COMPARABLE NATURE BETWEEN CORRESPONDING INTS).'

EMPLOYEES OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION ARE OFTEN REQUIRED TO TRAVEL UNDER CONDITIONS WHERE A CONSIDERABLE SAVING OF TIME MAY BE EFFECTED IF THE SERVICES OF THE AIR TRANSPORT COMMAND OF THE ARMY OR THE NAVAL AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE MAY BE UTILIZED. HOWEVER, IN CONNECTION WITH MANY OF THESE CASES, IT IS EXPECTED THAT THE FEE CHARGED BY THE ABOVE ORGANIZATIONS FOR SUCH SERVICES WILL BE IN EXCESS OF THE RATE FOR THE SAME TRIP CHARGED BY AIRLINES OPERATING OVER THAT ROUTE, WHICH WILL NOT IN ACTUAL PRACTICE BE AVAILABLE TO THESE EMPLOYEES BECAUSE HIGH ENOUGH PRIORITIES CANNOT BE OBTAINED FOR THEM.

UNDER SECTION 204 (C) OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ACT OF 1938, THESE PERSONNEL ARE PERMITTED TO TRAVEL ON "COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT" AT PUBLIC EXPENSE WHEN AUTHORIZED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY, WITHOUT REGARD TO COMPARATIVE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY AIRCRAFT WITH OTHER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION. HOWEVER, IT HAS BEEN SUGGESTED THAT THE TERM "COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT," AS USED IN THE ABOVE STATUTE, IS LIMITED TO NON GOVERNMENTAL AIRCRAFT OPERATED BY THE AIR TRANSPORT COMMAND AND THAT IT DOES NOT INCLUDE AIRCRAFT OPERATED BY THE AIR TRANSPORT COMMAND OF THE ARMY OR THE NAVAL AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE. ON THE OTHER HAND IT MAY WELL BE THAT THE TERM "COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT," AS USED IN THE ABOVE SECTION, MEANS AIRCRAFT OPERATED BY ANY AGENCY FOR WHICH A CHARGE IS MADE. IN VIEW OF THESE CONSIDERATIONS, YOUR OPINION WOULD BE APPRECIATED UPON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(A) MAY WE INCLUDE IN TRAVEL ORDERS THE AUTHORITY TO TRAVEL BY ARMY OR NAVY TRANSPORT ERVICES?

(B) IF SO, MAY WE PAY THE COST OF THE TRAVEL, WHICH WILL NOT BE BY THE CHEAPEST METHOD, WITHOUT COMPARISON WITH COMMERCIAL AIR RATES?

(C) SINCE THE REGULATIONS STATE THAT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS SHALL BE ISSUED TO RECOGNIZED TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES ONLY, MAY THEY BE ISSUED FOR TRAVEL VIA ARMY AND NAVY TRANSPORT?

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT A COMMERCIAL EXTRA-FARE PLANE SERVICE IS BEING INAUGURATED BY ONE OR MORE OF THE ORDINARY COMMERCIAL AIRLINES WHICH WILL OFFER SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS AND AFFORD SOME SAVING IN TIME. THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN AS TO WHETHER OR NOT WE MAY AUTHORIZE TRAVEL ON SUCH PLANES UNDER THE SAME CONDITIONS AS OUTLINED FOR EXTRA-FARE TRAINS, THE USE OF WHICH IS PERMISSIBLE UNDER PARAGRAPH 15 OF STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. AN EXPRESSION OF YOUR VIEWS UPON THIS QUESTION IS ALSO REQUESTED.

SECTION 204 (C) OF THE ACT OF JUNE 23, 1938, 52 STAT. 983, PROVIDES:

TRAVEL BY PERSONNEL OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ON COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT, DOMESTIC OR FOREIGN, INCLUDING TRAVEL BETWEEN AIRPORTS AND CENTERS OF POPULATION OR POSTS OF DUTY WHEN INCIDENTAL TO TRAVEL ON COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT, SHALL BE ALLOWED AT PUBLIC EXPENSE WHEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY, AND TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR SUCH TRAVEL MAY BE ISSUED UPON SUCH AUTHORIZATIONS. SUCH EXPENSE SHALL BE ALLOWED WITHOUT REGARD TO COMPARATIVE COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION BY AIRCRAFT WITH OTHER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION.

OF COURSE, WHEN THAT STATUTE WAS ENACTED THERE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN IN CONTEMPLATION FEDERALLY-OWNED AND OPERATED AIRLINES SUBSEQUENTLY ESTABLISHED BECAUSE OF THE WAR EMERGENCY. HENCE, THE TERM,"COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT," AS USED IN THE STATUTE, SUPRA, DOUBTLESS WAS INTENDED TO RELATE TO PRIVATELY-OWNED AND OPERATED AIRLINES, ONLY. HOWEVER, THE STATUTE DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THAT TRAVEL BY FEDERAL PERSONNEL TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IS AUTHORIZED IN ADDITION TO TRAVEL BY OTHER CLASSES OF COMMON CARRIERS. SEE PARAGRAPH 8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ( BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR 401 OF OCTOBER 8, 1942) DEFINING TRANSPORTATION TO INCLUDE "ALL NECESSARY OFFICIAL TRAVEL ON RAILROADS, AIR LINES, STEAMBOATS, STREETCARS, TAXICABS, AND OTHER USUAL MEANS OF CONVEYANCE.'

THE CLEAR PURPOSE OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 9492, DATED OCTOBER 24, 1944, TO WHICH YOU REFER, IS TO AUTHORIZE THE AIR TRANSPORT COMMAND OF THE ARMY AND THE NAVAL AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE TO TRANSPORT, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, CIVILIANS OVER ROUTES NOT SERVED OR SERVED INADEQUATELY BY COMMERCIAL AIRLINES. HENCE, IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT AIR TRAVEL OF FEDERAL PERSONNEL ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS OVER SUCH GOVERNMENT-OWNED AND OPERATED AIRLINES IS WITHIN THE PURPOSE AND INTENT OF THE ACT OF JUNE 23, 1938, AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDED SUCH TRAVEL IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY COMPETENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY AS MEETING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE EXECUTIVE ORDER. ACCORDINGLY, QUESTIONS (A) AND (B) ARE ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

REFERRING TO QUESTION (C), THIS OFFICE INTERPOSES NO OBJECTION TO THE USE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS AS EVIDENCE OF PERFORMANCE OF SERVICES ON THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED AND OPERATED AIRLINES.

REFERRING TO THE QUESTION CONTAINED IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, SINCE TRAVEL BY AIR NOW IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY COMPETENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY UPON THE SAME BASIS AS TRAVEL BY OTHER MEANS OF CONVEYANCE, AND AS THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS NOW CONTAIN NO SPECIFIC PROVISIONS DIFFERENTIATING TRAVEL BY AIR FROM TRAVEL BY OTHER CLASSES OF COMMON CARRIERS, THE USE OF COMMERCIAL EXTRA-FARE PLANE SERVICE MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY COMPETENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY UPON THE SAME BASIS AS THE USE OF EXTRA-FARE TRAINS IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH 15 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.