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AN EXEMPTION FROM OUR REGULATIONS IN 4 CFR 52.3(A) FOR 1 YEAR IS AUTHORIZED SO THAT ETA MAY TEST THE USE OF TRAVEL AGENTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITS PROPOSAL. WE BELIEVE YOU SHOULD ADVISE PROSPECTIVE TRAVEL AGENTS EITHER IN THE SOLICITATION OR BY OTHER MEANS 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. IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT AGREEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED WITH THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION THAT GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WILL BE USED IN CONDUCTING THE TEST. THE PROPOSED USE OF TRAVEL AGENTS FOR OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT TRAVEL HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF MUCH DEBATE RECENTLY AND WE HOPE THAT THE ETA TEST WILL CONTRIBUTE SIGNIFICANTLY TO THIS DEBATE INDICATING.

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B-103315(2),L/M, MAR 19, 1980

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

ALFRED M. ZUCK, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR:

IN A LETTER DATED JANUARY 16, 1980, YOU REQUESTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR CIRCULAR LETTER, DATED AUGUST 20, 1979, AN EXEMPTION FROM OUR REGULATIONS CONTAINED IN 4 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS (CFR) 52.3(A) (1979), WHICH RESTRICTS USE OF TRAVEL AGENTS TO PROCURE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT TRAVEL. YOU ENCLOSED A COPY OF A PROPOSAL FOR THE USE OF TRAVEL AGENTS FOR A 1-YEAR PERIOD BY THE EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ADMINISTRATION (ETA) OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR DESIGNED TO TEST WHETHER THE ETA CAN ACHIEVE SAVINGS AND EFFICIENCIES BY USING TRAVEL AGENTS.

BASED ON OUR REVIEW, WE BELIEVE THAT YOUR PROPOSAL COMPLIES WITH THE REQUIREMENTS SET FORTH IN THE CIRCULAR LETTER AND, THEREFORE, AN EXEMPTION FROM OUR REGULATIONS IN 4 CFR 52.3(A) FOR 1 YEAR IS AUTHORIZED SO THAT ETA MAY TEST THE USE OF TRAVEL AGENTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITS PROPOSAL.

HOWEVER, WE BELIEVE YOU SHOULD ADVISE PROSPECTIVE TRAVEL AGENTS EITHER IN THE SOLICITATION OR BY OTHER MEANS 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. ALSO, IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT AGREEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED WITH THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION THAT GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WILL BE USED IN CONDUCTING THE TEST.

WE LOOK FORWARD WITH ANTICIPATION TO REVIEWING THE RESULTS OF YOUR TEST. THE PROPOSED USE OF TRAVEL AGENTS FOR OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT TRAVEL HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF MUCH DEBATE RECENTLY AND WE HOPE THAT THE ETA TEST WILL CONTRIBUTE SIGNIFICANTLY TO THIS DEBATE INDICATING, WITHIN THE PARAMETERS OF THIS LIMITED TEST, WHETHER OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT TRAVEL CAN BE OBTAINED IN A LESS COSTLY AND MORE EFFICIENT MANNER BY USING TRAVEL AGENTS.

IN OUR CONSIDERATION OF YOUR REQUEST, WE FORWARDED YOUR PROPOSAL TO THE AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA FOR THEIR COMMENT AND THE ENCLOSED COPY OF THEIR REPLY OF MARCH 5, 1980, IS FURNISHED FOR YOUR INFORMATION.

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