Certain Trips Made by Senior Uniformed Officers Aboard Government-Owned Aircraft

FPCD-79-5: Published: Nov 6, 1979. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 1979.

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Over the past few years, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) bulletins have instructed Federal agencies to reduce travel costs. Although the bulletins state that they apply to the travel of all personnel whose travel costs are borne by the Government, it appears that these instructions have not been construed to apply to administrative flight on Government-owned aircraft. A report has been issued on a review of certain trips made by senior uniformed officers aboard Government-owned aircraft.

While agencies have controls over the use of administrative flights, the criteria for authorizing passengers vary and do not necessarily parallel Federal travel regulations pertaining to travel by commercial carrier, or to OMB policies. The review showed that spouses or guests often accompanied travelers on administrative trips. This is not permitted at Government expense when commercial carriers are used. While it may be claimed that if the plane is going anyway, extra travelers are not an extra cost to the Government, these practices have been susceptible to criticism. In addition, some trips were for public relations purposes not essential to mission accomplishment. GAO believes that additional benefits could be gained from travel regulations if OMB bulletins were clarified to make them applicable to travel aboard Government aircraft as well as commercial carriers.

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