City Pair Fares Vs. Low Cost General Public Fares

» Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

As a government traveler, I appreciate the City-Pair Program (CPP) administered by the General Services Administration (GSA).  I was surprised to learn that the CPP only represents 2% of the airline business.  This number may be larger today with the down economy and fewer leisure travelers.  At least in my line of work – facility inspections – travel is a necessary part of the job.  Thus, the many benefits of the CPP are routinely utilized.  There have been many times when I have had to change or cancel my flight itinerary and the no fee penalty and fully refundable ticket benefits for YCA Fares have definitely saved my agency a lot of money.  Recently, however, I have noticed both for myself and fellow colleagues that non-contract carriers frequently offer lower general public fares.  As a result, in order to save more money, this exception to the mandatory use of the CPP has been more frequently employed.  With increased competition amongst the airlines, it will be interesting to see how the CPP will do in comparison with non-contract carriers.  It may be that GSA should expand its list of contract carriers.  One challenge to increasing the number of contract carriers could be the requirement that “airlines eligible to receive a contract under the CPP must be a U.S. flag carrier and must participate in the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) or receive a Certificate of CRAF Technical Ineligibility.”  Perhaps if this requirement could be loosened or waived under special circumstances, more carriers could be eligible for the CPP.  Another option to look at for expanding the CPP is somehow taking advantage of the airlines code share agreements.  Contract carriers may have code share agreements with non-contract carriers for certain destinations.  Perhaps GSA could include the code share segments in the CPP, so government travelers could take advantage of the CPP benefits on the non-contract carriers.  Overall, I think the CPP is a highly beneficial program for the government and the GSA should look into ways to improving and expanding the program.

By: Lorie Henderson

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