Federal Civilian Agencies Can Better Manage Their Aircraft and Related Services

PLRD-83-64: Published: Jun 24, 1983. Publicly Released: Jul 25, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO conducted a follow-up review of activities to improve aircraft management at federal civilian agencies and traced actions related to recommendations made in a 1977 report.

GAO noted that, during fiscal year 1981, civilian agencies operated at least 675 government-owned aircraft at a cost of about $326 million and used several thousand more private-sector aircraft, costing about $99 million. GAO found that no action has been taken on recommendations made in its prior report, and recent reports indicate that little has changed in aircraft management at civilian agencies. Specifically, agencies are not using adequate systems to accumulate and report aircraft costs and, therefore, costs are understated. Further, GAO found that some agencies have spent millions to acquire aircraft without adequate justification or compliance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-76 to determine whether needed services could be provided at lower cost by the private sector. Additionally, GAO found that some agency aircraft were underused and that agencies are not coordinating aircraft operations. GAO believes that the Department of the Interior's Office of Aircraft Services (OAS) has effectively managed aircraft services and developed a program that other agencies could use.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services, to provide greater assurance that civilian agency aircraft are operated economically and effectively, should require agencies to dispose of those aircraft that cannot be justified for mission purposes due to their low and uneconomical utilization.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services, to provide greater assurance that civilian agency aircraft are operated economically and effectively, should establish aircraft utilization standards to ensure that government-owned and leased aircraft are justified based on their use for mission purposes.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should require civilian agencies, in accordance with OMB policies, to implement uniform, clear, and specific guidelines that: (1) require individuals responsible for managing aircraft to compare the full cost of transporting passengers commercially with the cost of transporting them by government aircraft; (2) require the use of commercial airlines, or other less costly means, to transport passengers when it is more economical and does not interfere with mission accomplishment; (3) prohibit or more severely limit the transporting of spouses, dependents, and other nonofficial travelers on government aircraft, except when such travel is for official government business; and (4) require that aircraft-use justifications contain sufficient information for each flight to determine whether the use of the aircraft was prudent, practical, and economical and was in conjunction with an agency mission, as spelled out in the 1981 OMB report on interagency travel management.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, when developing the governmentwide policy guidance for aircraft use and management, should clarify the government's travel policy and regulations accordingly.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should revise Circular A-76 to clarify its application to the acquisition of aircraft and related services and enforce compliance with it through the OMB budget review process.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB believes that GAO is the appropriate agency to implement this recommendation. GAO is working with OMB and the agencies on this matter.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should work with agencies in developing overall criteria for a uniform cost accounting system that will standardize aircraft program cost elements and require agency compliance.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should develop uniform policies and procedures for aircraft management, including guidance on how, when, by whom, and for what purposes aircraft might be used.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should establish a single coordinating office to operate a governmentwide aircraft management system similar to the one operated by OAS.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should direct each civilian agency that has substantial aircraft needs to establish offices responsible for aircraft oversight and management.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

 

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