Travelers arrive last year at Dulles International Airport outside Washington. The General Services Administration on Thursday announced airfares beginning Oct. 1 under its City Pairs program. (Paul J. Richards/ AFP via Getty)
The General Services Administration on Thursday announced airfares beginning Oct. 1 under its City Pairs program.
Federal travelers can save up to 73 percent off commercial airfare under the program, GSA said.
GSA released a list of routes online offered by the program but declined repeated requests for more details on how the program will be changed from current offerings.
GSA anticipates the government will save roughly $6 billion annually in reduced airfares through the program.
One change for fiscal 2013 is the addition of a 48-hour auto-cancellation clause, according to GSA. Airlines will have authority to cancel reservations that have not been paid for 48 hours before the flight departure time. Reservations made less than 48 hours before departure may require immediate payments.
Currently, federal employees can reserve a seat on a City Pairs flight without paying for it. But airlines lose money on empty seats if the employee doesn’t cancel the reservation, airline and travel officials said.
The 48-hour cancellation clause falls short of mitigating the risk that airlines assume in participating in City Pairs, said Jeffrey Haag, government relations manager for Southwest and AirTran airlines. “But it certainly is a step in the right direction,” he said.
Eleven airlines are participating in the City Pairs program in 2013, compared with 13 this year. AirTran Airways is now part of Southwest Airlines, and Mesa Airlines is not participating in the 2013 program.